That Chlorine Smell

That Chlorine Smell

That Chlorine Smell

Chloramines: Understanding “Pool Smell”

From American Chemistry

The most common misconception surrounding swimming pools deals with the “smell” of chlorine.  People are generally whipped into near hysteria due to chlorine, chlorine allergies, asthma caused by chlorine and supposed overchlorination which supposedly leads to cancer.  What most people get wrong, unfortunately, is that the smell is not actually caused by chlorine.  This post from American Chemisty explains the real culprit, and the chemistry behind what is really causing the water and pool area to smell.

Here is an excerpt from the post:

A whiff of pool water – often described as the smell of chlorine -can stir happy thoughts of summer. If strong enough, however, “pool smell” can signify a source of irritation to the eyes, lungs and skin of swimmers.

Pool smell is due, not to chlorine, but to chloramines, chemical compounds that build up in pool water when it is improperly treated.

Chloramines result from the combination of two ingredients: (a) chlorine disinfectants and (b) perspiration, oils and urine that enter pools on the bodies of swimmers. Chlorine disinfectants are added to pool water to destroy germs that can give swimmers diarrhea, ear aches and athlete’s foot. Perspiration, oils and urine, however, are unwanted additions to pool water. By showering before entering the pool, and washing these substances from the skin, swimmers can help minimize pool smell.

The Chemistry of Pool Smell

 

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