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Are chlorine tablets dangerous for use in swimming pools? Do they cause eye irritation? And why do we absolutely have to take a shower before using the pool, even if we are clean?

It is a common opinion to treat chlorine negatively – it smells, it dries the skin and some people get irritations of the mucous membranes. And there are alternative methods of water purification. Then why do we keep using the pool chlorine tablets?

Allergy to pool chlorine – is there such a thing? Chlorine is a highly poisonous substance. This means it can cause different reactions in people with various illnesses or allergies. Chlorine cannot be said to be allergenic, i.e. there are no “chlorine allergies”. The origin of this reaction is much more complex.

Very often people who visit swimming pools and actively practice swimming complain of irritation of the mucous membranes, running nose, etc. Dry skin, eye irritation, sneezing and coughing – if these symptoms appear after you have been in a pool, you probably assume that you are allergic to chlorine in the water.

But actually chlorine allergies do not exist. According to a study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, chlorine itself is not an allergen, so we can only talk about chlorine sensitivity.

Manifestations of chlorine sensitivity may include:

Contact dermatitis – red, scaly skin, itching and even the so-called “chlorine rash” – a small, red, prominent rash resembling hives with severe itching

Conjunctivitis – inflammation of the mucous membrane of the eye, redness, dryness or, on the contrary, excessive tearing

Respiratory symptoms – cough, runny nose, sneezing, stuffy nose

In addition, chlorine can indirectly contribute to the development of asthma and allergies to other irritants by irritating the airways.

One more risk factor for developing chlorine sensitivity is prolonged contact with chlorine. This applies to professional swimmers, lifeguards and people who use chlorine in the form of cleaning agents such as pool tablets to purify the water.

Even Olympic champions have chlorine sensitivity, for example six-time Olympic gold medallist swimmer Amy van Dyken and five-time gold medallist Ian Thorpe. Thorpe has suffered from breathing problems since he was a child. Even nose clips which prevent water from getting into the nose did not help.

How are swimming pools disinfected? Why are chlorine tablets used in swimming pools?

Good swimming pools are those where the water preparation goes through all the necessary stages and the quality is constantly monitored afterwards. Pool preparation consists of three mandatory stages:

Mechanical filtration – a filter is used to collect contaminated particles and compounds. Mainly sand filters are used, they can collect particles with a minimum size of 40–50 microns. The pumps with their pre-filter baskets separate the first larger contaminants, then the water passes through the main sand filter group and/or a fine filter group such as a cartridge filter. Anything smaller gets into the pool. There are filters that can collect particles 1–2–3 microns in size. But they are very expensive and not everyone can afford them. They can filter out any dirt, dust particles, skin and even bacteria.

Water preparation – adjustment of water parameters to the comfortable level for swimming. We also talk about the balance of water pH levels. This means that the water should be neither too acidic nor too alkaline; with the right equipment and an automated pool system, the pH can be balanced and the value should be between 7.2 and 7.6 – just like drinking water.

Disinfection – just because the water is clear doesn’t mean it’s clean. You can easily achieve clear water with pool chlorine tablets but that doesn’t mean it will be safe. For example, some common causative agents of diarrhoeal infections which are fought by chlorine in these pool tablets are not easily affected by it.

According to American and European cleanliness standards, chlorine can be used for disinfection. The pool disinfectant must meet three conditions:

It must kill infectious agents

It must be an oxidizer (to make the water lighter and destroy the dirt that the filter has failed to remove)

It must be continuously present in the water as an active substance

Chlorine is used more often than bromine because it is equally a good disinfectant and a good oxidizer. And bromine acts faster as a disinfectant but is a weaker oxidizer. Therefore, when using bromine, other oxidizing agents should also be used.

Why do swimming pools smell of chlorine? Does that mean they put too many chlorine tablets in the pool?

No, it rather means that the water in the pool is too contaminated because of the visitors themselves. It is not chlorine tablets that have a specific smell, but chloramines – this is the so-called combined chlorine which has already reacted with contaminants – sweat, skin fat, cosmetics and urine.

It is the chloramines that are not only responsible for the smell, but for all the negative effects on human health. They are the ones that dry the skin and irritate the mucous membranes.

The job of the people who run the pools is to deal with the combined chlorine. If the combined chlorine level does not exceed 0.2 mg/l, there will be no smell and users will not have skin problems. But in most swimming pools this indicator is much higher. And the problem is not the carelessness of the people who maintain the pool but the lack of information and knowledge about healthy maintenance.

What is the solution to get rid of the harmful effects of pool chlorine tablets?

Innovation is the solution. There is technology that can eliminate the much ingrained in our lives use of pool chlorine tablets in this industry. It does not use chemicals, is environmentally friendly, leaves no waste, does not adversely affect the air, the environment, water and human health.

And we offer it to you! By choosing Healthy Swim you’re not just choosing a new technology. You will retrofit your pool, provide better and reliable control of pool water disinfection, provide your pool customers and users with a healthy environment for sports and recreation, preserve and even improve the environment by eliminating the need to use pool tablets with chemicals harmful to the environment and human health.

In the long run, among other things, you will save money. By investing in new technology you ensure the future of your business and a good experience for your customers day in, day out – invest once and forget about the constant supply of costly pool tablets.

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