The Effects of Chlorine in Swimming Pools

There is no question that the swimming pool is a favorite hang-out for people who want to have a good time and beat the summer heat. Unfortunately, with many people coming in and out of the pool, there will be a buildup of dangerous bacteria that may cause sickness. To counter this, pool owners usually use chlorine to disinfect their pool.

Drawbacks of Using Chlorine

Chlorine is an effective disinfectant, but there is a little drawback in its use. To increase its effectiveness, chlorine should be applied on the water with just the right acidity and temperature. Chlorine’s antibacterial property is the result of the chemicals hypochlorous acid (HOCI) and hypochlorite ion (OCI) which are produced when chlorine breaks down when it interacts with water. If the acidity and temperature of the water is not right, less chemicals are released from the breakdown of chlorine. In a hotel where there are many guests wanting to swim at different times, it is difficult to find the right timing.

Another drawback of using chlorine as a disinfectant is that it may cause some people to experience irritation on their skin which could rapidly evolve into eczemas and rashes if proper treatment is not applied immediately. The fume chlorine emits as it evaporates has also been known to cause eye irritation. Red eyes among those who swim on chlorine treated pools may also be caused by chloramines which occur in the water when chlorine and ammonia mix up. Just where the ammonia comes from is anybody’s guess.

Everyone knows that chlorine emits a strong odor which can sometimes cause breathing difficulties to people who are swimming on a pool which is not well ventilated. To make matters worse, new research suggest that youngsters who spend more than 1000 hours on chlorinated pools will increase their chances of developing asthma. This does not mean that the use of chlorine on pools should be banned altogether. Many of these ill effects are caused by lack of ventilation and too much chlorine used in the pool.

Chlorine Alternatives

Nowadays, many disinfectants have been discovered to work as well as chlorine in keeping swimming pools bacteria-free. Bromine for example works by creating a byproduct call bromaniens, which easily kill waterborne pathogens without harming humans. Another chlorine alternative, Polymeric Biguanide reduces the water permeability of bacteria membrane thus killing it. New technology is also pitching in its solution in the form of water ion generators. Chlorine may be effective killing bacteria in the pool, but it is good practice to look at alternatives as well.

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