Alternatives to Chlorine in the Pool

by Pool Builders on 01-26-2010 in Articles

Have you ever wondered why chlorine is commonly used in swimming pools? What makes it so poplar? The truth is, it performs many useful functions. It eliminates bacteria quickly and is effective even at low concentrations. When used at higher concentrations, chlorine kills algae and breaks down oils, lotions and skin flakes.

But apparently there's more than meets the eye in the case of chlorine. This disinfectant has a number of disadvantages and carries certain risks. Its byproducts are believed to be responsible for the high number of asthma cases, lung damage, stillbirths, miscarriages and bladder cancer among others. Researchers found that 10-year-old children who spent an average of 1.8 hours a week in an indoor swimming pool developed lung damage similar to an adult smoker. For those who are worried about these findings, the question is "Are there good alternatives to chlorine?"

Ozone appears to be one of them. The United States Navy Dolphin program has been using ozone technology for several years now. A spokesman said this has resulted in the best water quality they've seen in years. Several other hotels and motels have also switched to ozone technology for use in their swimming pools. While ozone requires a bigger capital initially compared to a pool that uses chlorine, it eventually reduces operating and maintenance costs in the long run. So at first you spend a lot of cash but you save a lot more in the long run.

Bromine is another alternative to chlorine. It is typically used in spas for its tolerance to high pH levels and temperatures, Both bromine and chlorine belong to the same family of chemicals as chlorine. In fact, bromine kills bacteria the same way chlorine does. But while chlorine produces dangerous byproducts called chloramines, bromine doesn't. Instead it produces bromamines that disinfect the water and kill bacteria.

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