Absolutely not! Not now we have a far safer and more effective alternative to adding chlorine. There was a time when pool owners had no other choice but to dump quantities of chlorine into the water. In the future, those days will be viewed as the dark ages. We used to build with asbestos. We used to pollute the atmosphere with leaded fuel. Using chlorine to sanitise swimming pools will go the same way and be consigned to the dustbin of history. Till then, people will be exposing themselves to the kind of horrific injuries suffered by the unfortunate Clinton Maynard, shown in the picture.
For five years, Clinton Maynard has used the same routine to top up the chemicals in his backyard pool without a problem. Two weeks ago, the water had turned green and a pool shop calculated two kilograms of chlorine was needed to bring it back to a healthy sparkling blue. Mr Maynard, the news content director for 2UE, said his wife, Cas, measured the stabilised chlorine granules into a bucket then went to put one of their children to bed at their home in Engadine. ”After about 30 seconds of mixing, it exploded,” Mr Maynard said. ”It was a fairly big blast and then there were a series of other explosions afterwards, about five blasts. All the watery chlorine went on me – I was thrown to the ground. I was really lucky my neighbours were at home at the time. They dragged me out from behind the pool fence and straight away they put a hose on me. They ripped my clothes off and doused me with water. The fire brigade arrived and they put their hose on me as well.”
Mr Maynard was taken by ambulance to St George Hospital in a critical condition as paramedics in the ambulance continually flushed his eyes with water. His lungs were also affected by the chemical and he was placed in intensive care on oxygen with pneumonia-like symptoms. Now out of hospital a week, Mr Maynard says he believes retailers of pool chemicals should give customers a verbal warning as well as relying on the small print of instructions printed on the packaging.
”We were told years ago to add the chemicals the way we have done it for years,” he said. ”I am told you should add the chlorine to the water. We had the chlorine in the bucket first and then put the water in it. What’s the difference? Well, the difference is it can cause a reaction and then an explosion. I think there needs to be some sort of obligation on the people who retail these chemicals to actually say, ‘Make sure you do it this way. The risk if you do it the wrong way could be potentially fatal.”
Senior firefighter Richard Neville, who is on the Fire and Rescue hazardous materials advisory team, said the reaction of adding a small amount of water to a large amount of a chlorine pool compound could generate intense heat. ”The concentrated heat could lead to steam carrying chlorine compounds or corrosive gases being liberated. It is a complex mixture,” he said.
There have been an increasing number of reports of such accidents coming from all over the world. According to the Scientific American: “Over the past 10 years, chlorine has been involved in hundreds of accidents nationwide, injuring thousands of workers and townspeople, and killing some, according to federal databases. It is second only to carbon monoxide when it comes to the percentage of accidents that cause injuries, according to the newest federal data.”
If you’re concerned about the dangers of using chlorine to sanitise your pool, please get in touch. We can answer any questions you may have and tell you about a completely safe and effective alternative.