It’s been recently reported that red eye from swimming pools is not only from chlorine but from its reaction products with urine, sweat and other wastes forming chloramines. Is the explanation too simple?The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) has an excellent article summarizing pool chem and the new findings on pool redeye. Urine from peeing in the pool reacts with chlorine disinfectant to make chloramines, which causes the pool red eye. The reactions can also be from sweat and other wastes. The article doesn’t mention that chloramines are now used for water disinfection. Can the red eye come from pristine pool water disinfected with chlormines? The primary sources of disinfection of pool waters weren’t mentioned in the article.
Chlorine gas (Cl2) is the best source of chlorine for disinfecting water. It is used in large water treatment systems. Chlorine gas is toxic. This potential and the handling requirements for more than a ton have caused municipalities to find other sources of chlorine such as chloramine. That’s not without problems such as increased pipe corrosion.
“Chlorine” disinfectants can also be hypochlorite (bleach). These are easier to handle in small systems (pools) to boost disinfection. GE has an excellent summary of chlorine water treatment.
If you are getting red eyes from swimming in a community type pool, more “chlorine” is in probably in order.