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Is Bromine Bad For Your Health?


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#1 Joeybobby

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 01:25 PM

Hi, I figured this would be the place to ask this question.. Is Bromine in your spa bad for you healthwise? Reason I ask is that I stumbled on a website that was talking about the health effects of Bromine and it didn't look good. Has anyone here done any research on this? I can't really find much more on it... I can find lots of articles on how bad it is to come into contact with undiluted bromine and that doesn't look too good either. Thanks in advance for any replies..

#2 poolyeti

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 01:44 PM

Hi Joey,

Coming into contact with almost any undiluted chemical can be a bad thing. There are all kind of nuts out there saying that everything is bad for you. I just saw a site earlier this week raving about how chlorine causes cancer.

The long and short of it is that when used *properly*, bromine-based disinfectants do a great job of keeping your hot tub clean, and have no serious side effects. It's true that some people have a hypersensitivity to it, and that's something to keep an eye out for. But all said and done, there's no real reason to be afraid of using bromine.

John

#3 Joeybobby

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 01:54 PM

QUOTE(poolyeti @ Jan 16 2008, 01:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Joey,

Coming into contact with almost any undiluted chemical can be a bad thing. There are all kind of nuts out there saying that everything is bad for you. I just saw a site earlier this week raving about how chlorine causes cancer.

The long and short of it is that when used *properly*, bromine-based disinfectants do a great job of keeping your hot tub clean, and have no serious side effects. It's true that some people have a hypersensitivity to it, and that's something to keep an eye out for. But all said and done, there's no real reason to be afraid of using bromine.

John


Yes, cancer was the biggest concern... In the long term.... Saying your body absorbs it and its considered a carcinogen(I think thats the word)

#4 chem geek

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 03:18 PM

If you eat too much salt, you will die. If you don't consume any salt, you will die. Even with chemicals that are not needed to survive, dosage and specific chemical species and degree and method of exposure mean everything. Saying "chlorine is bad" or "bromine is bad" means next to nothing. See this post I wrote about chlorine. I don't know as much about bromine to comment on it but suspect the issues are similar and that the concentrations in a spa are lower than would be a problem. Bromine doesn't have a CYA to moderate it, but it is less reactive than chlorine to begin with.

If you've got some specific links I can at least take a look at it and give you my two cents worth. If it's a peer-reviewed scientific study with specific data, that carries more weight than someone just writing generalizations.

Richard

#5 Joeybobby

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 04:10 PM

QUOTE(chem geek @ Jan 16 2008, 03:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you eat too much salt, you will die. If you don't consume any salt, you will die. Even with chemicals that are not needed to survive, dosage and specific chemical species and degree and method of exposure mean everything. Saying "chlorine is bad" or "bromine is bad" means next to nothing. See this post I wrote about chlorine. I don't know as much about bromine to comment on it but suspect the issues are similar and that the concentrations in a spa are lower than would be a problem. Bromine doesn't have a CYA to moderate it, but it is less reactive than chlorine to begin with.

If you've got some specific links I can at least take a look at it and give you my two cents worth. If it's a peer-reviewed scientific study with specific data, that carries more weight than someone just writing generalizations.

Richard


Hi Richard. Here is the link to the site I was on.

http://www.claritywa...com/health.html

Maybe they are just trying to push their products... Seems like they have some valid points and references...

#6 tony

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:28 PM

Yup. Its an ad to sell enzyme products. Enzymes can't do the job themselves, though. They need chlorine or bromine to work effectively.

#7 chem geek

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 09:12 PM

They mostly talk about using 35% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) for disinfection even though they seem to sell mostly enzymes as tony mentioned. Anyway, I have taken some of their statements and comment on them below.

A swim in that pool equals more than 1 year of drinking chlorinated water and has 10 times the number of toxins and carcinogens at thousands of times the level of tap water.

The actual EPA maximum contaminant levels allowed are shown here where the only relevant ones that come from the introduction of chlorine are under Disinfection Byproducts and Disinfectants. The level for Chlorine is listed as 4.0 mg/L which is the same as 4 ppm (mg/L is about the same as ppm because water is around 1000 g/L or 1,000,000 mg/L). Remember that this limit is for drinking water and in the case of chlorine isn't a health hazard limit of chlorine itself, but a limit to reduce the likelihood of producing disinfection byproducts. Chlorine is very reactive and gets used up some in your saliva before it even hits your stomach and most certainly does not get absorbed by your body, but it does oxidize organics and ammonia and it is some of those substances that are of concern. What this 4 ppm level does not account for is Cyanuric Acid (CYA) that is found in swimming pools. The actual disinfecting chlorine (hypochlorous acid) level in swimming pools is around 0.1 ppm (3.5 ppm FC with 30 ppm CYA) or 1/40th the maximum level given by the EPA for drinking water. Since chlorine is released from being bound to CYA, drinking the pool water would be equivalent to the FC level, but you don't drink pool water and any oxidation reactions to skin or with organics or ammonia are based on the hypochlorous acid level, not the FC level.

As for disinfection byproducts, the limit for chlorite is 1.0 mg/L, for haloacetic acids (HAA5) it's 0.060 mg/L and for trihalomethanes it's 0.080 mg/L. I don't have numbers for the values found in pools but would be surprised if they are as high as these levels for several reasons. First and foremost is the far lower disinfecting chlorine concentration found in pools compared to that used for drinking water disinfection. Second is that the starting compounds of methane (or citrate -- see this link) and acetic acid are not introduced in large quantities into the pool (unlike ammonia compounds such as urea). Note the sentence in the link on chloroform: "There was a linear relationship between the concentrations of HOCl and the formation of chloroform." which was my first point. The most hazardous chlorine compounds tend to be volatile and it is those that generally are the ones that can be absorbed by skin and inhaled. But some of these tend to be unstable so will tend to break down under UV from sunlight or will outgas from the pool so they do not build up substantially. The Henry Law constant gives a rough guide to volatility and is the ratio of concentration in water (moles/liter) divided by the partial pressure of the substance in air (atmospheres). So a lower number is more volatile and a higher number is less volatile. The following are some values for some relevant substances:

Molecular Chlorine (Cl2) 0.095 minimal in water as most becomes hypochlorous acid
Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) 660 not very volatile *** regulated by EPA to 4.0 mg/L

Chloramide aka Monochloramine (NH2Cl) 94 somewhat volatile
Dichloramine aka Chlorimide (NHCl2) 29 more volatile
Nitrogen Trichloride aka Trichloramine (NCl3) 0.10 very volatile

Chloromethane aka Methylchloride (CH3Cl) 0.12 very volatile
Dichloromethane (CH2Cl2) 0.38 very volatile
Trichloromethane aka Chloroform (CHCl3) 0.25 very volatile *** regulated by EPA to 0.080 mg/L
Tetrachloromethane aka Carbon Tetrachloride (CCl4) 0.034 extremely volatile

Chloroethanoic acid aka Chloroacetic acid (CH2ClCOOH) 110,000 not volatile *** these three regulated by EPA to 0.060 mg/L total
Dichloroethanoic acid aka Dichloroacetic acid (CHCl2COOH) 120,000 not volatile *** these three regulated by EPA to 0.060 mg/L total
Trichloroethanoic acid aka Trichloroacetic acid (CHCl3COOH) 74,000 not volatile *** these three regulated by EPA to 0.060 mg/L total

This basically means that the haloacetic acids are essentially not volatile and I cannot find anything indicating skin absorption so unless you drink the water, these aren't going to be a problem. The chloroform is very volatile so will not stay in the water, but is the least likely to be produced in any quantity due to a general lack of methyl ketone source in the water. The most likely disinfection byproducts in pool water are the chloramines and I have breakpoint calculations that show that the low chlorine levels and 7.5+ pH results in extremely low production of dichloramine and nitrogen trichloride. Nevertheless, indoor pools with heavy bather loads do report these chloramines and virtually ALL reports of asthma and respiratory illnesses associated with swimming pools are with indoor pools, not outdoor pools. This is not only due to a lack of sunlight (UV rays) and poor air circulation, but I believe is also due to not using CYA in most indoor pools which results in greater production of di and tri chloramines by orders of magnitude (factors of 10 or more). At the other extreme are indoor pools that use CYA that builds up too high (usually from Trichlor tablets) where the breakpoint of monochloramine becomes too slow so that builds up too high. So if you are going to avoid pools, avoid indoor pools or take a test kit and measure the CYA level (and FC level). If the pool is chlorinated and the FC/CYA ratio isn't between 0.02 to 0.20 or if there is no CYA, then avoid using that pool.

You can absorb as much chlorine in one hour of sitting in chlorinated water as you would drinking unfiltered, chlorinated tap water for a week!

This isn't true for chlorine, but they may be talking about some disinfection byproducts from chlorine and I've already talked about those above. This does not sound correct and I can't find anything to support it. The closest information are some studies that show that absorption through skin and inhalation account for a good portion of total disinfection byproduct intake as that from drinking water, but that's talking about the already low amounts in the water such as chloroform that are regulated. In other words, they are just making the point that if you want to eliminate exposure to these products, you not only need to filter your drinking water, but also to put a filter on the shower as well, for example. However, many water utility districts have switched to using monochloramine as the residual instead of hypochlorous acid so that is lasts longer and reacts less with any organics in pipes. This was to keep the contaminant levels low at the tap, not just when leaving the water treatment plant.

However, remember that the 1 ppm FC that was typically used as a residual is 10 times the level of disinfecting chlorine found in pools.

Perhaps by "absorbing" they are including chlorine that gets used up combining with your sweat?

Furthermore, by-products are formed in the water when it comes in contact with organic matter, ammonia compounds and nitrogen compounds. The main source of those is people’s bodies – the sweat, dead skin, urine, etc. These compounds reduce the effectiveness of the chlorine, necessitating adding more. They also cause the bad smell and burning eyes associated with pools. Some of the by-products have been linked to spontaneous abortions and other problems with embryos.

The first part is true about the chloramines and I've already talked about how the low disinfecting chlorine concentration minimizes the "bad" ones. These compounds don't reduce the effectiveness of chlorine, per se, but reduce the amount of chlorine in the pool so yes, you do add more to keep the Free Chlorine (FC) level constant. However, in a pool, most of the chlorine is lost due to sunlight with a lower amount lost due to combining mostly with ammonia-like compounds in sweat. In a spa, most of the loss is from the sweat though some is also from outgassing, but at proper chlorine levels the monochloramine is broken down to nitrogen gas (the largest component in air) with minimal by-products.

And yes, some of the by-products are nasty in larger quantities, but it's the amount that is relevant. The body is able to tolerate a small amount of toxins of all kinds and does so every day so knowing the quantity that the body can tolerate is what is most important and the amounts in properly chlorinated pools are exceptionally low. Again, everyone seems to be forgetting about the CYA and how it reduces the hypochlorous acid concentration which is the "chlorine" that participates in all the reactions that produce the disinfection by-products.

* Chlorine combines with natural organic matter decaying vegetation to form potent cancer causing trihalomethanes (THM’s)

* Collectively include such carcinogens as chloroforms, bromoforms carbon tectachloride, bischlorothane and other cancer causing agents


The "bromo" compounds won't be there without bromine, but the others are possible but again will be produced in very low amounts. Remember that salt will kill you too if you have too much or too little. Quantity means everything and yes, you want to keep these to a minimum and with properly maintained pools and spas, you will.

* The level of chlorine in swimming pools is over 1,000% the level deemed minimally safe by the EPA in water

This is absolutely not true and I've talked about this above. I have no idea where they get this sort of number.

* Causes atherosclerosis, stroke and heart attack
* Causes skin to prematurely age
* Damages the human eye
* Causes bladder, breast, testicular, bladder, colon, or rectal and bowel cancer as well as malignant melanoma
* Damages lung tissue
* Causes acne, psoriasis, seborrhea and eczema
* Converts to dioxins - the most dangers of cancer causing chemicals and which build up permanently within a person's body
causes infertility and birth defects
* Damages the nervous system permanently


So don't drink bleach. What's the point here? Again, quantity is everything. Water itself will kill you if you keep your head submerged in it, but a little humidity won't.

When combined, chlorine and bromine make 97 carcinogens, 82 mutagens, 28 acute and chronic toxic contaminants and 23 tumor promoters. Many of these complex chemicals resulting from the conversion of chlorine and bromine to other chemicals permanently accumulate in a person's body fat. Each time exposed, the level of carcinogens, mutagens, toxins and tumor promoters increases. With each increase, the risk of cancer increases to a point of it no longer is a question of if the person will develop cancer. It is only a question of how soon. Each exposure from that point means sooner than before.

This is not true. They meant to say that when chlorine and bromine are combined with organics and ammonia, then... Though the statements are true (for disinfection byproducts), they don't refer to the likelihood nor quantity of such carcinogenic compounds. You aren't pouring concentrated bleach into a vat of concentrated organic compounds. You've got a pool or spa very much diluted with a small residual of organic compounds, many of which do not react with chlorine at all or do so very, very slowly. You add chlorine to the water with the pump running and it mixes very quickly and combines with CYA very quickly so the net chlorine concentration is very, very low. So many reactions of chlorine with organics, if they happen at all, happen very slowly. The only very fast reaction is with ammonia to produce monochloramine. Other reactions are far slower except for some substitution and oxidation reactions that kill bacteria and algae (small single-celled pathogens). Your skin can react as well, but at proper chlorine levels you can tell that it's minimal (my wife can tell immediately when she swims in an indoor pool without CYA -- her skin and hair get dry and frizzy -- in our own pool with CYA the effects are minimal; same thing is true for swimsuit degradation).

At least they talk about cumulative risk from a probability point of view and that is true, so you do want to minimize your exposure, but they do not talk about the body's ability to neutralize and dispose of certain chemicals which is also a factor. That is, it's not a linear effect. If you have a small enough amount of a substance, it can usually be handled. Only when it gets above an amount then it starts to cause much more serious problems either through accumulation or through direct harm (such as damaging DNA to cause cancer which is what mutagenic and carcinogenic refer to). There are some substances that are so damaging that perhaps no small amount is tolerable, but the chlorine compounds we're talking about aren't among them, at least from what the data shows (dioxin, really PCDD, being the only notable exception -- it's pretty nasty, but isn't normally formed from chlorine in water -- it usually comes from burning in the presence of chlorine and bleaching of wood pulp to make white paper).

"Chlorine is so dangerous" according to PhD biologist/chemist Dr. Herbert Schwartz," that it should be banned. Putting chlorine in water is like starting a time bomb. Cancer, heart trouble, premature senility, both mental and physical are conditions attributable to chlorine treated water supplies. It is making us grow old before our time by producing symptoms of ageing such as hardening of the arteries."

Chlorination of water has probably saved more lives than any other single health care initiative in human history. There were many, many deaths from water-borne diseases. Now I fully agree it's important to minimize side effects and if there are alternatives with fewer side effects then great, but the proposed hydrogen peroxide in the link is not one of them since it does not retain a residual as it breaks down from sunlight too readily and it also is not as fast a disinfectant as chlorine, bromine or biguanide which is why hydrogen peroxide is not registered with the EPA for use in pools and spas as a primary disinfectant (though it is used as an oxidizer with biguanide).

Dr. Stephen Askin wrote: "The real issue is not just how toxic chlorine itself is but how the unintended by-products of chlorine (organochlorines and dioxins) remain in the environment. They are persistent in the environment; they do not break down readily and therefore bio-accumulate. This can create a very serious health problem; the dioxins and other toxic chemicals accumulate in the fatty tissues. These contaminants are also hormone disrupters because they mimic estrogen. The EPA has observed and documented hormonal imbalance, suppressed immune systems, reproductive infertility and alterations in fetal development of animals. In viewing the big picture, these factors are perhaps the most frightening results from the widespread use of chlorine."

At least the real issue is accurately addressed here. It's not chlorine itself, but it's byproducts. So, minimize the byproducts by minimizing chlorine concentration (such as with CYA) and keeping the pH near 7.5 (or a little higher). These quotes are mostly talking about the LARGE quantities of byproducts that are produced when chlorine is used in industry such as in bleaching pulp to make white paper.

In Super Nutrition for Healthy Hearts Dr Richard Passwater shows how "the origin of heart disease is akin to the origin of cancer" Chlorination could very well be a key factor linking these two major diseases. Chlorine creates THM's and haloforms. These potent chemical pollutants can trigger the production of excess free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals cause cell damage. Excess free radicals can cause normal smooth muscle cells in the arterial wall to go haywire, to mutate. The fibrous plaque consequently formed is essentially a benign tumor. Unfortunately, this tumor is linked with the origin of heart disease."

Again, the degree of exposure is key and there is no sense of how low this is in swimming pools. Where is the actual data with actual contaminant levels? They referred to the EPA drinking limits, but don't point to actual studies showing actual levels in real pools and spas. I can virtually guarantee that indoor pools with high bather loads, no sunlight exposure, and poor air circulation not using CYA will have very high levels of Nitrogen Trichloride (aka Trichloramine) and indoor pools with similar conditions except very high CYA will have very high levels of monochloramine and in both cases people will complain of chlorine smell (really "bad" in the first case), eye irritation, respiratory difficulty, asthma and other problems. This is not, however, the fault of chlorine as much as the fault of using chlorine improperly.

One recent study revealed that a non-smoker with a chlorinated pool is over twice as likely to develop cancer as a heavy smoker without a pool. The high number of pools and spas in the United States may well be the reason that cancer rates in deaths in the United States generally are 200% to 600% higher than other countries, with similar differences in many other degenerative diseases.

I can't find that study, but I suspect it involved indoor pools that I've already talked about though even then I am dubious about this study. Attributing cancer rates to pools when there are so many other substances that we eat and breathe that are cancer causing doesn't make sense. When searching for this, I ran into this link that parrots much of what was said in the link you gave -- I don't know who wrote it first.

H2o2 will destroy small organisms first and then the higher (or larger) life forms.

This is also true for chlorine. It kills bacteria the fastest because they are the smallest and simplest single-cell pathogens. It also kills most viruses quickly. It takes longer to kill algae. It takes even longer to kill the higher (or larger) life forms. Though chlorine from drinking water will kill some fish, I suspect that the lower 0.1 ppm level when CYA is present might be tolerable to most of them. This table lists toxic doses for aquatic organisms. A 0.1 ppm FC is 100 µg/L so you can see that this is below toxicity for most (but not all) fish. The similar chart for hydrogen peroxide is here. You can see that it takes a lot more hydrogen peroxide to kill fish and the same is true for killing bacteria -- it takes rather high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide to be a disinfectant. You can read more about hydrogen peroxide and why it is not used in swimming pools here, but it's mostly due to its instability (including breakdown from UV in sunlight) and the fact that it isn't as strong a disinfectant so requires much more to kill quickly enough (it is a strong oxidizer, however, but that's not the same thing as a disinfectant). One reason that chlorine is such a good disinfectant is that the H-O-Cl molecule looks a lot like water and is uncharged yet polar (just like water) so it can pass through cell membranes as if it were water and then kill the cell by interfering with cell processes through multiple mechanisms. As you know, human skin is designed to repel water and not absorb it in large quantities quickly (it does absorb it, but not very fast) and even if some surface skin cells are killed, that happens all the time with our skin -- it's designed to take abuse and flake off (that's some of what house dust is composed of -- dead skin cells), but in a properly chlorinated pool or spa this happens minimally.

So if you want to minimize your risk of exposure to chlorine and disinfection byproducts in a chlorine pool or spa, then use a slow-acting disinfectant such as silver (or silver and copper) or PolyQuat or non-chlorine shock (MPS) or use an in-line disinfectant such as an ozonator or UV and then maintain a lower chlorine level by having a smaller FC/CYA ratio. So instead of the recommended 0.1 ratio for pools, one could cut that in half or maybe even one-quarter, especially if something like silver were used (PolyQuat might also be as good, but there aren't studies with it -- MPS might work, but a residual could be irritating).

Richard

#8 Joeybobby

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 05:29 AM

QUOTE(chem geek @ Jan 16 2008, 09:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They mostly talk about using 35% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) for disinfection even though they seem to sell mostly enzymes as tony mentioned. Anyway, I have taken some of their statements and comment on them below.

A swim in that pool equals more than 1 year of drinking chlorinated water and has 10 times the number of toxins and carcinogens at thousands of times the level of tap water.

The actual EPA maximum contaminant levels allowed are shown here where the only relevant ones that come from the introduction of chlorine are under Disinfection Byproducts and Disinfectants. The level for Chlorine is listed as 4.0 mg/L which is the same as 4 ppm (mg/L is about the same as ppm because water is around 1000 g/L or 1,000,000 mg/L). Remember that this limit is for drinking water and in the case of chlorine isn't a health hazard limit of chlorine itself, but a limit to reduce the likelihood of producing disinfection byproducts. Chlorine is very reactive and gets used up some in your saliva before it even hits your stomach and most certainly does not get absorbed by your body, but it does oxidize organics and ammonia and it is some of those substances that are of concern. What this 4 ppm level does not account for is Cyanuric Acid (CYA) that is found in swimming pools. The actual disinfecting chlorine (hypochlorous acid) level in swimming pools is around 0.1 ppm (3.5 ppm FC with 30 ppm CYA) or 1/40th the maximum level given by the EPA for drinking water. Since chlorine is released from being bound to CYA, drinking the pool water would be equivalent to the FC level, but you don't drink pool water and any oxidation reactions to skin or with organics or ammonia are based on the hypochlorous acid level, not the FC level.

As for disinfection byproducts, the limit for chlorite is 1.0 mg/L, for haloacetic acids (HAA5) it's 0.060 mg/L and for trihalomethanes it's 0.080 mg/L. I don't have numbers for the values found in pools but would be surprised if they are as high as these levels for several reasons. First and foremost is the far lower disinfecting chlorine concentration found in pools compared to that used for drinking water disinfection. Second is that the starting compounds of methane (or citrate -- see this link) and acetic acid are not introduced in large quantities into the pool (unlike ammonia compounds such as urea). Note the sentence in the link on chloroform: "There was a linear relationship between the concentrations of HOCl and the formation of chloroform." which was my first point. The most hazardous chlorine compounds tend to be volatile and it is those that generally are the ones that can be absorbed by skin and inhaled. But some of these tend to be unstable so will tend to break down under UV from sunlight or will outgas from the pool so they do not build up substantially. The Henry Law constant gives a rough guide to volatility and is the ratio of concentration in water (moles/liter) divided by the partial pressure of the substance in air (atmospheres). So a lower number is more volatile and a higher number is less volatile. The following are some values for some relevant substances:

Molecular Chlorine (Cl2) 0.095 minimal in water as most becomes hypochlorous acid
Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) 660 not very volatile *** regulated by EPA to 4.0 mg/L

Chloramide aka Monochloramine (NH2Cl) 94 somewhat volatile
Dichloramine aka Chlorimide (NHCl2) 29 more volatile
Nitrogen Trichloride aka Trichloramine (NCl3) 0.10 very volatile

Chloromethane aka Methylchloride (CH3Cl) 0.12 very volatile
Dichloromethane (CH2Cl2) 0.38 very volatile
Trichloromethane aka Chloroform (CHCl3) 0.25 very volatile *** regulated by EPA to 0.080 mg/L
Tetrachloromethane aka Carbon Tetrachloride (CCl4) 0.034 extremely volatile

Chloroethanoic acid aka Chloroacetic acid (CH2ClCOOH) 110,000 not volatile *** these three regulated by EPA to 0.060 mg/L total
Dichloroethanoic acid aka Dichloroacetic acid (CHCl2COOH) 120,000 not volatile *** these three regulated by EPA to 0.060 mg/L total
Trichloroethanoic acid aka Trichloroacetic acid (CHCl3COOH) 74,000 not volatile *** these three regulated by EPA to 0.060 mg/L total

This basically means that the haloacetic acids are essentially not volatile and I cannot find anything indicating skin absorption so unless you drink the water, these aren't going to be a problem. The chloroform is very volatile so will not stay in the water, but is the least likely to be produced in any quantity due to a general lack of methane source in the water. The most likely disinfection byproducts in pool water are the chloramines and I have breakpoint calculations that show that the low chlorine levels and 7.5+ pH results in extremely low production of dichloramine and nitrogen trichloride. Nevertheless, indoor pools with heavy bather loads do report these chloramines and virtually ALL reports of asthma and respiratory illnesses associated with swimming pools are with indoor pools, not outdoor pools. This is not only due to a lack of sunlight (UV rays) and poor air circulation, but I believe is also due to not using CYA in most indoor pools which results in greater production of di and tri chloramines by orders of magnitude (factors of 10 or more). At the other extreme are indoor pools that use CYA that builds up too high (usually from Trichlor tablets) where the breakpoint of monochloramine becomes too slow so that builds up too high. So if you are going to avoid pools, avoid indoor pools or take a test kit and measure the CYA level (and FC level). If the pool is chlorinated and the FC/CYA ratio isn't between 0.02 to 0.20 or if there is no CYA, then avoid using that pool.

You can absorb as much chlorine in one hour of sitting in chlorinated water as you would drinking unfiltered, chlorinated tap water for a week!

This isn't true for chlorine, but they may be talking about some disinfection byproducts from chlorine and I've already talked about those above. This does not sound correct and I can't find anything to support it. The closest information are some studies that show that absorption through skin and inhalation account for a good portion of total disinfection byproduct intake as that from drinking water, but that's talking about the already low amounts in the water such as chloroform that are regulated. In other words, they are just making the point that if you want to eliminate exposure to these products, you not only need to filter your drinking water, but also to put a filter on the shower as well, for example. However, many water utility districts have switched to using monochloramine as the residual instead of hypochlorous acid so that is lasts longer and reacts less with any organics in pipes. This was to keep the contaminant levels low at the tap, not just when leaving the water treatment plant.

However, remember that the 1 ppm FC that was typically used as a residual is 10 times the level of disinfecting chlorine found in pools.

Perhaps by "absorbing" they are including chlorine that gets used up combining with your sweat?

Furthermore, by-products are formed in the water when it comes in contact with organic matter, ammonia compounds and nitrogen compounds. The main source of those is people’s bodies – the sweat, dead skin, urine, etc. These compounds reduce the effectiveness of the chlorine, necessitating adding more. They also cause the bad smell and burning eyes associated with pools. Some of the by-products have been linked to spontaneous abortions and other problems with embryos.

The first part is true about the chloramines and I've already talked about how the low disinfecting chlorine concentration minimizes the "bad" ones. These compounds don't reduce the effectiveness of chlorine, per se, but reduce the amount of chlorine in the pool so yes, you do add more to keep the Free Chlorine (FC) level constant. However, in a pool, most of the chlorine is lost due to sunlight with a lower amount lost due to combining mostly with ammonia-like compounds in sweat. In a spa, most of the loss is from the sweat though some is also from outgassing, but at proper chlorine levels the monochloramine is broken down to nitrogen gas (the largest component in air) with minimal by-products.

And yes, some of the by-products are nasty in larger quantities, but it's the amount that is relevant. The body is able to tolerate a small amount of toxins of all kinds and does so every day so knowing the quantity that the body can tolerate is what is most important and the amounts in properly chlorinated pools are exceptionally low. Again, everyone seems to be forgetting about the CYA and how it reduces the hypochlorous acid concentration which is the "chlorine" that participates in all the reactions that produce the disinfection by-products.

* Chlorine combines with natural organic matter decaying vegetation to form potent cancer causing trihalomethanes (THM’s)

* Collectively include such carcinogens as chloroforms, bromoforms carbon tectachloride, bischlorothane and other cancer causing agents


The "bromo" compounds won't be there without bromine, but the others are possible but again will be produced in very low amounts. Remember that salt will kill you too if you have too much or too little. Quantity means everything and yes, you want to keep these to a minimum and with properly maintained pools and spas, you will.

* The level of chlorine in swimming pools is over 1,000% the level deemed minimally safe by the EPA in water

This is absolutely not true and I've talked about this above. I have no idea where they get this sort of number.

* Causes atherosclerosis, stroke and heart attack
* Causes skin to prematurely age
* Damages the human eye
* Causes bladder, breast, testicular, bladder, colon, or rectal and bowel cancer as well as malignant melanoma
* Damages lung tissue
* Causes acne, psoriasis, seborrhea and eczema
* Converts to dioxins - the most dangers of cancer causing chemicals and which build up permanently within a person's body
causes infertility and birth defects
* Damages the nervous system permanently


So don't drink bleach. What's the point here? Again, quantity is everything. Water itself will kill you if you keep your head submerged in it, but a little humidity won't.

When combined, chlorine and bromine make 97 carcinogens, 82 mutagens, 28 acute and chronic toxic contaminants and 23 tumor promoters. Many of these complex chemicals resulting from the conversion of chlorine and bromine to other chemicals permanently accumulate in a person's body fat. Each time exposed, the level of carcinogens, mutagens, toxins and tumor promoters increases. With each increase, the risk of cancer increases to a point of it no longer is a question of if the person will develop cancer. It is only a question of how soon. Each exposure from that point means sooner than before.

This is not true. They meant to say that when chlorine and bromine are combined with organics and ammonia, then... Though the statements are true (for disinfection byproducts), they don't refer to the likelihood nor quantity of such carcinogenic compounds. You aren't pouring concentrated bleach into a vat of concentrated organic compounds. You've got a pool or spa very much diluted with a small residual of organic compounds, many of which do not react with chlorine at all or do so very, very slowly. You add chlorine to the water with the pump running and it mixes very quickly and combines with CYA very quickly so the net chlorine concentration is very, very low. So many reactions of chlorine with organics, if they happen at all, happen very slowly. The only very fast reaction is with ammonia to produce monochloramine. Other reactions are far slower except for some substitution and oxidation reactions that kill bacteria and algae (small single-celled pathogens). Your skin can react as well, but at proper chlorine levels you can tell that it's minimal (my wife can tell immediately when she swims in an indoor pool without CYA -- her skin and hair get dry and frizzy -- in our own pool with CYA the effects are minimal; same thing is true for swimsuit degradation).

At least they talk about cumulative risk from a probability point of view and that is true, so you do want to minimize your exposure, but they do not talk about the body's ability to neutralize and dispose of certain chemicals which is also a factor. That is, it's not a linear effect. If you have a small enough amount of a substance, it can usually be handled. Only when it gets above an amount then it starts to cause much more serious problems either through accumulation or through direct harm (such as damaging DNA to cause cancer which is what mutagenic and carcinogenic refer to). There are some substances that are so damaging that perhaps no small amount is tolerable, but the chlorine compounds we're talking about aren't among them, at least from what the data shows (dioxin, really PCDD, being the only notable exception -- it's pretty nasty, but isn't normally formed from chlorine in water -- it usually comes from burning in the presence of chlorine and bleaching of wood pulp to make white paper).

"Chlorine is so dangerous" according to PhD biologist/chemist Dr. Herbert Schwartz," that it should be banned. Putting chlorine in water is like starting a time bomb. Cancer, heart trouble, premature senility, both mental and physical are conditions attributable to chlorine treated water supplies. It is making us grow old before our time by producing symptoms of ageing such as hardening of the arteries."

Chlorination of water has probably saved more lives than any other single health care initiative in human history. There were many, many deaths from water-borne diseases. Now I fully agree it's important to minimize side effects and if there are alternatives with fewer side effects then great, but the proposed hydrogen peroxide in the link is not one of them since it does not retain a residual as it breaks down from sunlight too readily and it also is not as fast a disinfectant as chlorine, bromine or biguanide which is why hydrogen peroxide is not registered with the EPA for use in pools and spas as a primary disinfectant (though it is used as an oxidizer with biguanide).

Dr. Stephen Askin wrote: "The real issue is not just how toxic chlorine itself is but how the unintended by-products of chlorine (organochlorines and dioxins) remain in the environment. They are persistent in the environment; they do not break down readily and therefore bio-accumulate. This can create a very serious health problem; the dioxins and other toxic chemicals accumulate in the fatty tissues. These contaminants are also hormone disrupters because they mimic estrogen. The EPA has observed and documented hormonal imbalance, suppressed immune systems, reproductive infertility and alterations in fetal development of animals. In viewing the big picture, these factors are perhaps the most frightening results from the widespread use of chlorine."

At least the real issue is accurately addressed here. It's not chlorine itself, but it's byproducts. So, minimize the byproducts by minimizing chlorine concentration (such as with CYA) and keeping the pH near 7.5 (or a little higher). These quotes are mostly talking about the LARGE quantities of byproducts that are produced when chlorine is used in industry such as in bleaching pulp to make white paper.

In Super Nutrition for Healthy Hearts Dr Richard Passwater shows how "the origin of heart disease is akin to the origin of cancer" Chlorination could very well be a key factor linking these two major diseases. Chlorine creates THM's and haloforms. These potent chemical pollutants can trigger the production of excess free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals cause cell damage. Excess free radicals can cause normal smooth muscle cells in the arterial wall to go haywire, to mutate. The fibrous plaque consequently formed is essentially a benign tumor. Unfortunately, this tumor is linked with the origin of heart disease."

Again, the degree of exposure is key and there is no sense of how low this is in swimming pools. Where is the actual data with actual contaminant levels? They referred to the EPA drinking limits, but don't point to actual studies showing actual levels in real pools and spas. I can virtually guarantee that indoor pools with high bather loads, no sunlight exposure, and poor air circulation not using CYA will have very high levels of Nitrogen Trichloride (aka Trichloramine) and indoor pools with similar conditions except very high CYA will have very high levels of monochloramine and in both cases people will complain of chlorine smell (really "bad" in the first case), eye irritation, respiratory difficulty, asthma and other problems. This is not, however, the fault of chlorine as much as the fault of using chlorine improperly.

One recent study revealed that a non-smoker with a chlorinated pool is over twice as likely to develop cancer as a heavy smoker without a pool. The high number of pools and spas in the United States may well be the reason that cancer rates in deaths in the United States generally are 200% to 600% higher than other countries, with similar differences in many other degenerative diseases.

I can't find that study, but I suspect it involved indoor pools that I've already talked about though even then I am dubious about this study. Attributing cancer rates to pools when there are so many other substances that we eat and breathe that are cancer causing doesn't make sense. When searching for this, I ran into this link that parrots much of what was said in the link you gave -- I don't know who wrote it first.

H2o2 will destroy small organisms first and then the higher (or larger) life forms.

This is also true for chlorine. It kills bacteria the fastest because they are the smallest and simplest single-cell pathogens. It also kills most viruses quickly. It takes longer to kill algae. It takes even longer to kill the higher (or larger) life forms. Though chlorine from drinking water will kill some fish, I suspect that the lower 0.1 ppm level when CYA is present might be tolerable to most of them. This table lists toxic doses for aquatic organisms. A 0.1 ppm FC is 100 µg/L so you can see that this is below toxicity for most (but not all) fish. The similar chart for hydrogen peroxide is here. You can see that it takes a lot more hydrogen peroxide to kill fish and the same is true for killing bacteria -- it takes rather high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide to be a disinfectant. You can read more about hydrogen peroxide and why it is not used in swimming pools here, but it's mostly due to its instability (including breakdown from UV in sunlight) and the fact that it isn't as strong a disinfectant so requires much more to kill quickly enough (it is a strong oxidizer, however, but that's not the same thing as a disinfectant). One reason that chlorine is such a good disinfectant is that the H-O-Cl molecule looks a lot like water and is uncharged yet polar (just like water) so it can pass through cell membranes as if it were water and then kill the cell by interfering with cell processes through multiple mechanisms. As you know, human skin is designed to repel water and not absorb it in large quantities quickly (it does absorb it, but not very fast) and even if some surface skin cells are killed, that happens all the time with our skin -- it's designed to take abuse and flake off (that's some of what house dust is composed of -- dead skin cells), but in a properly chlorinated pool or spa this happens minimally.

So if you want to minimize your risk of exposure to chlorine and disinfection byproducts in a chlorine pool or spa, then use a slow-acting disinfectant such as silver (or silver and copper) or PolyQuat or non-chlorine shock (MPS) or use an in-line disinfectant such as an ozonator or UV and then maintain a lower chlorine level by having a smaller FC/CYA ratio. So instead of the recommended 0.1 ratio for pools, one could cut that in half or maybe even one-quarter, especially if something like silver were used (PolyQuat might also be as good, but there aren't studies with it -- MPS might work, but a residual could be irritating).

Richard


WOW! You certainly know your stuff! Thanks so much for taking the time for such a reply! This was very helpful!

Mark


#9 chem geek

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 09:13 AM

Mark,

Your welcome. There's a lot of stuff on the Internet that unfortunately is a mixture of some true facts taken out of context plus exaggerations plus plain falsehoods. It's not that people should not be concerned about disinfection by-products, but they should put things into perspective and consider appropriate dosages and uses. I would wholly agree that if there were another sanitizer as equally effective as chlorine that didn't have its side effects, then it should be used. It simply hasn't been found (bromine and biguanide are the only ones that are close and retain a residual). The alternatives all have downsides of one sort or another, but using a combination of an alternative with less chlorine is helpful.

I've looked up some information on the composition of sweat from several sources and though it varies, it appears to be roughly the following:

Sodium -- about 100 m-equiv./liter; 23 g/mole; about 2300 ppm or 230 mg/100cc
Potassium -- about 10 m-equiv./liter; 39 g/mole; about 390 ppm or 39 mg/100cc
Ammonia (NH4+) -- about 3.5 m-equiv./liter; Ammonia-N about 5 mg/100cc
Chloride -- about 100 millimole/liter (about 3500 ppm or 350 mg/100cc)
Lactate -- about 300 mg/100cc; 89 g/mole; 2-hydroxypropanoic acid
Urea N -- about 40 mg/100cc; 14 g/mole N; 2 ammonia groups
Creatine -- about 0.9 mg/100cc; 131 g/mole; 3 Nitrogen (2 ammonia groups)
Uric Acid -- about 1 mg/100cc; 4 Nitrogen in a double ring

[EDIT] This link says the Urea is 680 ppm (68 mg/100cc), ammonia is 180 ppm (18 mg/100cc), amino acids at 45 ppm, creatinine at 7 ppm (0.7 mg/100cc) and other compounds at 80 ppm. These numbers are higher than above, but are order-of-magnitude consistent. Notice that this is for sweat while urine is very high in urea at 10,240 ppm and ammonia at 560 ppm. [END-EDIT]

Amount of sweat in a spa -- varies (and is less than in a sauna), but some sources say up to 16 fluid ounces (about 475 ml) in 20 minutes for one person.

Let's first take a look at the bulk of the ammonia-nitrogen which is 5 + 2*40 = 85 mg/100cc or 850 ppm-N. In a 350 gallon (1325 liters) spa, this is equivalent to 850 * (475/1000) / 1325 = 0.30 ppm-N in one 20 minute soak of one person. It takes 7.6 times the ppm-N of ppm FC to fully oxidize this ammonia so that would be 2.3 ppm FC. So for a longer soak or for more people, you can see that it takes quite a lot of chlorine to meet this ammonia-nitrogen demand. My guess based on the experience of users on this forum was around 2-3 ppm FC per person-soak plus 1 ppm FC per day from other sources (outgassing, algae prevention, possibly degradation). Interestingly, the first step in the oxidation of urea, the formation of urea monochloramine, is very slow so I'm not sure if it really contributes that highly to the demand and perhaps is why MPS is needed to speed this oxidation along (i.e. to oxidize urea since chlorine doesn't do it very quickly), but I'm not sure at all about this since Combined Chlorine measurements do seem to indicate that the urea gets oxidized about as fast as would be expected with ammonia.

Note that there was no acetic acid of any appreciable quantity in sweat so minimal or no haloacetic acid (HAA5) would form. The trihalomethanes (THMs) usually form from a methyl ketone via the haloform reaction. A methyl ketone is an organic group that looks like R-CO-CH3. Lactate ion is CH3CH(OH)COO (not a methyl ketone). The haloform reaction occurs at higher pH so would occur if a lot of concentrated hypochlorite chlorine (such as bleach or chlorinating liquid) were added to unbuffered water with quantities of humus organics which is what can happen during water treatment. In a spa or pool, however, the chlorine is diluted quickly (if added slowly over a return flow as recommended) and the pH does not rise appreciably plus the CYA in the water makes the effective chlorine concentration very low. Basically, sanitation of pools and spas is NOT the same as chlorine addition to water in a treatment plant for sanitation of drinking water. The quantities of organics (especially humic acids) are different and, most especially, the quantity of chlorine is vastly different.

The only REAL way to know, however, is to actually measure the THMs and HAA5s in real pool and spa water and then to compare that against skin absorption and inhalation (through volatility) rates. If you or anyone can find any real scientific studies on this (not just speculation from the "chlorine is all bad" websites), then that would be helpful information.

I ran into this website that talks about chloramine from people who are concerned about it (a Q&A from S.F. water is here). This is in regard to chloramine that is now added to drinking water instead of chlorine for reasons I mentioned in an earlier post. The problems with plumbing did occur initially until the water treatment industry figured out what corrosion inhibitors were needed when using monochloramine. They had inhibitors when using chlorine, but different ones are needed when using monochloramine, and from what I can tell this issue has now been resolved. As I mentioned in an earlier post, a simple activated charcoal (carbon block) filter can be used in a shower head as well as a water filter if there is concern. For pools and spas, the main issue is that the initial fill and make-up water will contain monochloramine, but this will get oxidized through the addition of chlorine and/or MPS. In some sense, pool and spa water is more pure than tap water in that the monochloramine gets removed. I know that the main motivation to switch to monochloramine was to reduce THM formation in water pipes from using chlorine and to retain a better residual for longer-lasting disinfection, but I am surprised with the lack of studies on monochloramine effects on health (skin sensitivity, long-term health, etc.). In pools and spas we try to minimize it's formation by oxidizing it not too long after it is formed (which is yet another reason not to use Dichlor-only since the higher CYA slows this down too much).

Richard

#10 waterbear

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 09:50 AM

ONe thing I would like to add to chemgeek's excellent (as usual) discussion is concerning hydrogen peroxide. For H2O2 to be an effective sanitizer the concentration needed in the water would cause bather discomfort, to say the least. To use it simply as an oxidizer (as it is used in biguanide systems such as softsoak and revacil) requires a much lower concentration of H2O2.

Also, I just read through the website. Much of what they sell is junk science and they claim they have a 'chemical free' pool/spa sanitizer, the disk, that is actually a copper/zince metal system. Hardly chemical free! Anyway, for properly sanitized water it has been demostrated that at least a 2 ppm FC residual is needed with copper/zince and copper silver systems.

Also, I read their info on bromine and much of it was warnings about elemental bromine which is NOT what is used in spas. The most common way to introducr bromine into a spa is by the salt sodium bromide. Their info about combining chlorine and bromine is pure rubbish. When chlorine is added to a spa containing sodium bromide the bromide ions are converted into hypobromous acid, your active bromine sanitizer that we usually refer to as "bromine" and the chlorine (actually hypochlorous acid) is converted into chloride ions in the water, which are harmless.

This website is a prime example of someone using fear and junk science and relying on the fact that most consumers are not technically savvy to sell products of very dubious value ( or that can even be harmful, which some of these can if they are relied on to provide sanitzed water in a pool or spa!)
I've tested more water than I ever care to think about!
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#11 Joeybobby

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:49 AM

QUOTE(waterbear @ Jan 17 2008, 09:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
ONe thing I would like to add to chemgeek's excellent (as usual) discussion is concerning hydrogen peroxide. For H2O2 to be an effective sanitizer the concentration needed in the water would cause bather discomfort, to say the least. To use it simply as an oxidizer (as it is used in biguanide systems such as softsoak and revacil) requires a much lower concentration of H2O2.

Also, I just read through the website. Much of what they sell is junk science and they claim they have a 'chemical free' pool/spa sanitizer, the disk, that is actually a copper/zince metal system. Hardly chemical free! Anyway, for properly sanitized water it has been demostrated that at least a 2 ppm FC residual is needed with copper/zince and copper silver systems.

Also, I read their info on bromine and much of it was warnings about elemental bromine which is NOT what is used in spas. The most common way to introducr bromine into a spa is by the salt sodium bromide. Their info about combining chlorine and bromine is pure rubbish. When chlorine is added to a spa containing sodium bromide the bromide ions are converted into hypobromous acid, your active bromine sanitizer that we usually refer to as "bromine" and the chlorine (actually hypochlorous acid) is converted into chloride ions in the water, which are harmless.

This website is a prime example of someone using fear and junk science and relying on the fact that most consumers are not technically savvy to sell products of very dubious value ( or that can even be harmful, which some of these can if they are relied on to provide sanitzed water in a pool or spa!)



Thanks again guys for taking the time to write back! Your replies were very helpful!

#12 jeanphilt

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 12:25 PM

We just bought a house and the spa (jacuzzi) was included ...

I've spent a few hours on the Web looking for the best way to take care of the spa.

 

After reading many posts from waterbear and chemgeek, it seems that Bromine and Dichlor are the most effective products.

As important as effectiveness, the other important criteria is healthiness.

While important, odor, price and easiness, are far behind in my opinion.

 

Among others, I found this "disturbing" article : http://www.huffingto...h_b_472953.html

I think moderation is the key.

 

With this in mind, what kind of products would you recommend ?

Clearwater Blue + bromine (let's say 40% of normal use) = the "best" alternative ?

http://www.poolspafo...?showtopic=2113



#13 waterbear

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 03:53 PM

We just bought a house and the spa (jacuzzi) was included ...

I've spent a few hours on the Web looking for the best way to take care of the spa.

 

After reading many posts from waterbear and chemgeek, it seems that Bromine and Dichlor are the most effective products.

As important as effectiveness, the other important criteria is healthiness.

While important, odor, price and easiness, are far behind in my opinion.

 

Among others, I found this "disturbing" article : http://www.huffingto...h_b_472953.html

I think moderation is the key.

The article is written by Dr. Mercola....he is definitely 'fringe'...can anyone make the sound a duck makes? 

With this in mind, what kind of products would you recommend ?

Clearwater Blue + bromine (let's say 40% of normal use) = the "best" alternative ?

http://www.poolspafo...?showtopic=2113

Clearwater Blue is not the best alternative.  Use one of the EPA approved residual sanitizers or don't have a hot tub. It's really that simple. Clearwater Blue is a copper sulfate bases algaecide, nothing more, It does not kill fecal bacteria so if you depend on it you run the risk of water borne illness! Reread the threat hou linked to above! FWIW, I don't think the product is on the market anymore. (wonder why?)

 

As far as Dr. Mercola...he had questioned whether HIV causes Aids in this day and age and has been cautioned by the FDA about the claims that he makes for the products he sells on his website! He also has stated that sunscreens are not safe and that people need to use the natural ones he sells on his website. Is it becoming clear yet?


I've tested more water than I ever care to think about!
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#14 jeanphilt

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 05:29 PM

@waterbear : I'm impressed, you knew Dr. Mercola ? I just came across this article 'randomly' ... thanks for the tips, usually I try to verify the sources but huffingtonpost seemed enough 'mainstream' to be 'trust' but it looks like this guy is a fraud

 

Sounds like I'll check for a mineral sanitizer (EPA approved like Nature2) or a Salt System (which uses Chlorine apparently)

Nature 2 : http://www.poolspafo...showtopic=33997

Dr. Mercola : http://www.poolspafo...3949&hl=mercola

 

Apparently Clearwater Blue is still sold : http://www.spadepot....tizers-C43.aspx

According to them it's a good product : http://www.spadepot....-comparison.htm

 

Thanks ! Your help is really appreciated, I'm surprised there is almost no site (wiki) explaining all possibilities in details

At least the average guy will just grab either Chlorine and Bromine and will be fine ... (still, he has to use it correctly ...)



#15 waterbear

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 08:02 PM

@waterbear : I'm impressed, you knew Dr. Mercola ? I just came across this article 'randomly' ... thanks for the tips, usually I try to verify the sources but huffingtonpost seemed enough 'mainstream' to be 'trust' but it looks like this guy is a fraud

I try to keep informed on a variety of subjects and he has been around for a long time now in the alternative medicine field (and on the firnges of that, IMHO)

Sounds like I'll check for a mineral sanitizer (EPA approved like Nature2) or a Salt System (which uses Chlorine apparently)

Not, really, It is a silver/Monopersulfate system. MPS becomes a sanitizer at elevated temperatures when catalyzed by silver ions...chlorine is used to help break down biofilms that can form on the ceramic beads that hold the silver nitrate in the N2 cartridge but is not normally present in the tub.

 

Nature 2 : http://www.poolspafo...showtopic=33997

Dr. Mercola : http://www.poolspafo...3949&hl=mercola

 

Apparently Clearwater Blue is still sold : http://www.spadepot....tizers-C43.aspx

According to them it's a good product : http://www.spadepot....-comparison.htm

Well, if they are selling it they are going to say it is a good product, no?

 

Thanks ! Your help is really appreciated, I'm surprised there is almost no site (wiki) explaining all possibilities in details

At least the average guy will just grab either Chlorine and Bromine and will be fine ... (still, he has to use it correctly ...)

 


 

 

Chlorine and bromine have the fewest 'side effects'. If not kept up properly a silver/MPS tub can 'go south' very fast.  We will not even discuss the problems inherent in biguanide/peroxide systems like SoftSoak and BaquaSpa. These are the 4 EPA aporoved spa sanitizers. Copper is not one of them. Period! Neither are surfactants, enzymes, or Sphagnum moss (I kid you not on that last one!  It is actually being sold to purify pool and spa water! Anyone want to buy a bridge in Brooklyn from me?)

 

 


I've tested more water than I ever care to think about!
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