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Avoid Bromine For Health?


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Dr. Mercola tends to be down on all halogens, so both bromine and chlorine. I can't really comment on the bromine exposure from food and plastic sources (which is really brominated organics exposure), but the first comment posts to his article are correct in that Mercola picks and chooses and tends to exaggerate to make a point.

That said, it does seem that the brominated products tend to be worse than the chlorinated ones (except for things like dioxin, but that's only realistically produced at very high temperatures as with incineration). As for bromine in spas, that's a tougher call. Bromine's strength isn't moderated by CYA and we aren't sure of how much of an effect bromine tabs that produce DMH have. It's a weaker oxidizer, but the bromates and brominated organics (including volatile ones) do tend to be of greater concern. So from a health perspective, on balance, chlorine with some CYA in the water is probably a bit safer, but both are relatively safe in lower bather load situations.

In this post I list some of the volatile disinfection by-products. In spas, the amounts tend to be a lot lower than in the commercial/public pools that represent most of the data in that post. Those users who add sanitizer after a soak are probably exposed to lower by-product levels than those who have continuous dosing including most bromine spas.

If someone wants a halogen-free system that is still effective at killing pathogens quickly and is approved by the EPA as a disinfectant, then that would be a combination of Nature2 with MPS (non-chlorine shock).

Personally, I'm OK with risk ratios from bromine or chlorine that are probably in the 1 in 10 million or more range.

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