Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Monday, July 22, 2013

5 Myths About Swimming Pools

It's summer, at least in the northern hemisphere, and it's been hot and humid here in the northeastern United States the past week. When the weather turns hot, many of us enjoy a dip in a pool to cool down. Some of us are lucky enough to have our own pools in our backyard and some of us go to a community pool. Regardless of where you choose to swim, it can really help you cool down when it is hot outside!

There seem to be some misconceptions floating around about swimming pools so I thought I'd take a look at them here today.  How many of these myths have you heard before?

1. The chlorine in pool water turns light hair green. It is true that blondes who swim a lot might get a green tint to their hair but the chlorine isn't doing it.  It is actually the copper in the water that causes this chemical reaction! Copper plumbing leading to pools can introduce copper to the water as can certain anti-algae treatments.  Regardless of the source, there are some natural remedies to remove the green listed on this page and, if they don't work, there are commercial products that will solve this problem. Note:  I've never had this problem with my darker hair so I can't endorse any of the remedies I linked.

2. Red eye is caused by too much chlorine in the pool water.  It is true that we can sometimes get irritated, red eyes from swimming but too much chlorine isn't the problem.  Nitrogen which is found in sweat and urine interact with the chlorine to form chloramines which irritate our eyes. The water might actually need more chlorine to prevent this chemical reaction - not less.

3. You must wait 30 minutes after eating to go back in the pool. The idea behind this one is that our bodies divert blood to the digestive tract and away from our arms and legs. This might cause our limbs to not function properly and place us at a risk for drowning.  The good news is that this isn't true. We have enough blood to keep our entire body functioning well after we eat. There is no need to wait.

4. If the pool water is clear, it is clean. Not necessarily. Though clarity is something you want to look for, it doesn't mean that there aren't harmful microorganisms in the pool that could cause a problem.  One should avoid swimming in a pool if the water isn't clear, but don't use this as the only sign that it is safe.

5. If a pool smells strongly of chemicals, it is clean. There should be a faint smell of chemicals, not a strong odor.  Remember the chloramines we mentioned earlier?  When they are present in a pool, there may be a strong chemical smell along with them.  You should avoid swimming in pools with a strong chemical smell.

How do you know it is safe to swim in a pool?  You should follow the guidelines below.

The water should be clear so you can see to the bottom of the pool.
The sides of the pool should feel smooth and clean, never slimy.
There should be no strong chemical smell.

Image found here


  1. Interesting. I had never heard about chlorinated pools changing the color of natural hair, but I had heard about it changing dyed hair. Mrs. Illya said she had some problems getting it back to an acceptable shade again afterwards.

    1. My very blonde nieces battled green hair for years. They were both on the swim team and had a pool at home, too. It was a year round issue for them.
      I had heard of problems with color-treated hair. I imagine that's a more complicated problem to solve. :-/