Chlorine Is Key For Any Pool Chemical Treatment - Know The Facts About Chlorine

by Pool Builders on 04-20-2008 in Articles

Chlorine can be just as helpful as it can be hazardous. If you swim a lot and/or own a pool, you will want to know as much as you can about chlorine. You need many chemicals in perfect balance to properly maintain your pool. In order to better understand chlorine, you should know some facts.

What exactly is chlorine? Chlorine is an element that has been used for many purposes. It is found in many household cleaning products. It is used as a pool water sanitation chemical, as well as a poison, primarily in the form of a gas. Chlorine has a very strong odor. When pure chlorine is released in its liquid form it quickly turns into a very hazardous gas. It doesn't sound like something you want to swim in, right? But the chlorine in pools (even highly chlorinated public pools) is extremely diluted.

Most public pools contain much more chlorine than pools in or outside of people's homes. This makes public pools safer because chlorine is a very potent cleansing agent. Less chlorine is used in home pools because less people use the pool less often, therefore there is less bacteria to kill.

Overexposure to chlorine can be extremely dangerous so please be careful when using this compound at home. As a matter of fact, as I formerly mentioned, chlorine has a history of having been used as a poison. In the First World War, chlorine poison was used as a destructive pulmonary agent, i.e. the purpose was to cause choking in the victim who inhaled it. The chlorine was concentrated and pressurized, and when released in liquid form it stayed close to the ground, making it virtually impossible for the victim to breathe.

Chlorine gas has an incredibly pungent odor, and is the color of pea-soup in appearance. By itself, chlorine is not flammable, but when combined with another explosive compound such as turpentine or ammonia, it becomes combustible. The use of chlorine as a dangerous gas has been substituted by other chemical agents, but even chlorine bleach in the form of a household cleaning agent can be made into a dangerous gas if mixed with certain other common household cleansers. Other uses for chlorine consist of the sanitation of industrial waste and sewage, and of course, for sanitizing pool water.

On the subject of pool water:

If someone is to suffer from chlorine exposure, they would have to be very near in proximity to a chemical spill. Chlorine poisoning can also occur if the chemical is ingested, so be sure to store any household cleansers or pool sanitation supplies far away from your food and to always wash your hands in-between cleaning and cooking. Not that any contaminates are good to combine with food, even if they are not as dangerous. Chlorine or no chlorine, you should always wash your hands before you handle your food. It is however, very unlikely for someone to experience chlorine poisoning by swimming, even in highly chlorinated pool water. Nonetheless, be sure to shower or rinse off after swimming, because regular, chlorinated pool water can easily irritate skin and hair.

It is very important, especially if you have children around and store your own chlorinated pool and / or household chemicals, to know exactly what you are dealing with. Accidents can happen: it is important to take the time to learn things like CPR, the poison control phone number, and the immediate signs and symptoms shown in someone who is exposed to harmful levels of chlorine.

When someone is exposed to hazardous levels of chlorine there are different signs and symptoms: coughing, a feeling of tightness in the chest, a burning sensation in nose, throat and eyes, watery eyes, blurry vision, nausea and vomiting, burning skin, redness, and even blisters on the skin (if it is gas exposure). The person could also experience difficulty breathing and/or shortness of breath. These symptoms will be experienced right away if someone is exposed to high concentrations of chlorine, or, if lower concentrations of chlorine gas is inhaled, the symptoms may be somewhat delayed. Within up to four hours of dangerous chlorine exposure someone could suffer what is called pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs - a very dangerous and life-threatening condition. The long term consequences of chlorine exposure are not often anything to be too concerned about if the exposure is treated quickly enough. However, if someone develops pneumonia during therapy for chlorine exposure, they may suffer from chronic bronchitis thereafter.

What to do:

If someone you know inhales chlorine gas, however intensely, they should get to fresh air right away. Staying inside or shut-in with the source may be problematic. If you suspect that you or someone you know has been exposed to hazardous levels of chlorine, remove the person's clothing and quickly dispose of it. Next, wash entire body with soap and water, and be sure to rinse out the victim's eyes. If you suspect you have ingested chlorine, DO NOT induce vomiting or drink fluids, this could make things worse. In case of ingestion, you must call 911 or otherwise seek medical attention immediately - don't waste time wondering if you should seek medical attention. Be sure to explain, in as much detail as possible, exactly what has happened. And try to stay calm to let the professionals help you in any dangerous circumstances.

Doing the right thing in case of any emergency can be your very best bet to get the most out of the medical resources available to you. If you own a pool or clean with chlorine-based home or industrial cleaners at all, be sure to be careful about storing your things and keeping them out of the way of children, friends, cooking attire, or in any other potentially dangerous place. And remember, in the face of danger, try to remain as calm as possible. Knowing what to do is in everyone's best interest. Thinking on your feet, as they say, is not nearly so difficult if you already know what to do.

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