The CDC dropped a megaton truth bomb on all of us about what's really stinging your eyes at the pool.


Come on in, the sludge is fine! (stock photo)

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If you grew up swimming in pools, you're probably used to the adverse effects of the chlorine in the water: red eyes, a nasty smell, and difficulty breathing. But according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control, those symptoms aren't actually caused by the chlorine – not on its own.

The CDC has teamed up with the Water Quality and Health Council and the National Swimming Pool Foundation as part of their annual Healthy Swimming Program. Their mission is to educate Americans about the benefits of swimming, and give them advice on how to stay healthy in the water. Their first order of business is to clear up this misconception about chlorine. The Program's associate director, Dr. Michael J. Beach, Ph.D., says that pool chlorination doesn't actually irritate your eyes. He told Women's Health:

“It's quite the opposite. Chlorine binds with all the things it's trying to kill from your bodies, and it forms these chemical irritants. That's what's stinging your eyes. It's the chlorine binding to the urine and the sweat."

There you have it, folks! Any time your eyes bother you at the pool, that means dirty, sweaty people have definitely been peeing in it. The same goes for that nasty pool cough. The irritants in the air are only caused by chlorine reacting with human grossness.

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Sources: The Centers for Disease Control | Women's Health