Numerous public swimming pools in France now require swimmers to wear a cap - and it is not just for hygiene reasons.
Pools in Rezé (Loire-Atlantique) and Abbeville (Somme) have become among the latest to make caps obligatory due to their numerous benefits.
Didier Quéraud, head of sport at Rezé, said: “Swimming surrounded by floating hair is not pleasant but it’s not just the hygiene - there are other decisions regarding health and cost behind this decision.”
Firstly, from a chemical point of view, when chlorine comes into contact with organic matter, sweat, saliva or hair, it reacts and produces chloramines, which greatly reduces the disinfecting power of chlorine and can cause side effects such as irritation to skin.
It can also lead to the formation of trichloramine, which is the compound that gives the odour of local swimming pools.
Again, this agent is relatively harmful for swimmers but becomes more so if you are in frequent contact with it, such as pool workers.
The move also aims to make savings on water and energy costs; huge quantities of water are needed to clear the hair when it gets jammed in pool filters.
Philippe Briout, director of conurbation at Saint-Lô (Manche), said that the change helped to save a significant sum of money: “It was necessary to reduce our energy consumption and, in particular, by making our filters work less by injecting less water, which is also heated.”
Despite the small change, the savings have been huge. After introducing the cap requirement in July 2022, the pool reportedly reduced its costs by €30,000, which proved useful in a sector which is faced by the additional cost of €1.2million due to soaring energy prices.