Pool Chemicals – the myths

There have always been great debates over how to chemically treat a swimming pool. Pool chemicals are a necessity in order to keep the pool water healthy and clean, although some studies have shown that the use of chlorine may increase your risk of getting cancer. These, after all, are chemicals – and we should know as much as we can about what we are adding to our pool water. Having complete knowledge of the chemicals will ensure we are treating our water the best and safest way possible.

  1. Myth: Saltwater swimming pools don’t require chlorine.

Fact: Because of the fears cause by chlorine warnings, salt water pools began to grow in popularity. However, saltwater pools are not a replacement for the traditional chlorine pool because chlorine is still necessary. Salt can not sanitize a pool on its own, and by using a saltwater chlorinator, salt is broken down and turned into nothing other than chlorine.

  1. Myth: Pool Chlorine is unsafe.

Fact: Since 1908, chlorine has been used in our drinking water supply. Pool Chlorine is safe, as long as it is not exposed to and reacts with organic compounds. Despite the World Health Organizations findings, chlorine is safe for swimming pool use as long as quantities are measured and amount of organic compounds found in the water are kept at safe levels.

  1. Myth: It is not necessary to take a shower prior to swimming.

Fact: Urine, sweat, body oils, and cosmetics all contain organic compounds. Therefore, to minimize the amount of exposure of organic compounds in the water, it is best practice to take a shower prior to going into a swimming pool.

  1. Myth: A clear pool is a healthy pool.

Fact: Seeing is not always believing. No matter how clean and clear a pool may appear, there can be unhealthy levels of micro-organisms in the water. Just because you can’t see micro-organisms, doesn’t mean you cant smell or feel them.

  1. Myth: Since a pool is disinfected, it is ok to swallow pool water.

Fact: Even though our drinking water contains levels or chlorine safe for consumption, it is not advised to drink pool water. Our drinking water comes direct from a faucet, and exposure to the elements is minimal. Pool water, on the other hand, is completely exposed to the elements and it is best to minimize the rise and avoid consuming pool water.

  1. Myth: Chlorine causes redness in eyes.

Fact: Chlorine does not cause redness or itchiness of eyes. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Redness or itchiness is caused by high pH or chloramine levels, and is a sign that there is too little chlorine in the pool.

  1. Myth: Swimming diapers do not contaminate the pool water.

Fact: Swim diapers are not 100% leak proof. With that being said, a baby will contaminate the swimming pool if left in the water long enough.

  1. Myth: There is a pool chemical that can reveal urine in the water.

Fact: Despite what you may see in the movies, such a chemical does not exist and it is nothing more than an urban legend. However, as we know, urinating in a pool is wrong and should never occur as there can be health complications to yourself and anyone else who may be exposed to the contaminated water.

  1. Myth: Chlorine can turn you hair green.

Fact: Chlorine in the pool does not turn your hair green, but the copper in the water can. Copper is added to pool water to control the amount of algae growth. Preventive measures include wearing a swimming cap, or simply shampooing your hair once you exit the pool.

  1. Myth: Strong chemical odors means a clean and healthy pool.

Fact: Pool Chlorine should not have a strong odor. If it does, it means it has mixed with high levels of contaminants. A well sanitized pool should have minimal odor. If a strong odor is present, it is an indication that something is wrong and the pool should be tested.