Skip to main content

CDC Explains What Really Causes Irritated Eyes In Swimming Pools

A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has pointed out that chlorine is not the only cause of irritated eyes in swimming pools.

“Irritants in the air at swimming pools are usually the combined chlorine-by products of disinfection. These by-products are the result of chlorine binding with sweat, urine, and other waste from swimmers,” the CDC wrote in its report, WPIX reports.

According to the CDC website, when the concentration of these irritants reaches a certain point, they spread into the air.

“The symptoms of irritant exposure in the air can range from mild symptoms, such as coughing, to severe symptoms, such as wheezing or aggravating asthma,” the report explained.

This is just one potential risk when using swimming pools. The CDC has identified that recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are on the increase across the country, according to This describes any infection contracted while using a pool.

“Look critically at the pool water, preferably before the kids have a chance to get their hopes up,” advised Stanley R. Pickens, chairman of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals' Recreational Water Quality Committee, according to “The water should be clear and sparkling. It's a bad sign if the water is dull, hazy, cloudy or green.”

Other warning signs to look out for include checking if the pool’s surroundings are well maintained and that the pool’s pump is working, which is something you should be able to hear.

“A bad odor is a sign of poorly maintained pool water, and inadequate ventilation,” Pickens explained. “A strong chlorine-like odor is generally not an indication of too much chlorine in the water. It is an indication that a lot of contaminants are not being fully oxidized, but are rather being treated just enough to form noxious disinfection byproducts.”

Given these potential risks, the CDC advises ensuring that you or your children take regular bathroom breaks, and wash or shower properly before and after being in the pool.

Sources: CDC,, WPIX

Photo Credit: WPIX, Official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr


Popular Video