By Jimmie Meece
A recent NBC News online article covered a topic of growing concern in regards to swimming pool safety. The article stated that last year there were almost 5,000 emergency room visits from people that had been injured in some way by swimming pool chemicals. Also, the article mentioned that the statistic does not include those injured that either did not seek immediate treatment or went directly to their primary doctor. So, the number of those injured was actually higher.
Typically, these chemical injuries are caused by the improper handling of chlorine. Because chlorine is so commonly used by people, it is sometimes overlooked as a dangerous chemical. When water is added improperly to chlorine it creates a chlorine gas that can cause you to become sick, or in more extreme cases, can cause death. Many times people are simply not educated on the dangers of handling swimming pool chemicals. Below, we are offering up some safety tips when handling pool chemicals:
- When handling all swimming pool chemicals be sure to read the directions on how to use and add the chemicals to the pool. This is the most common reason people get hurt from handling chemicals. Educate yourself on the chemicals that are being used in your swimming pool.
- The most common injuries from chlorine are burns to the lungs, hands, eyes, and face. So, before handling chlorine or any other pool chemical be sure to use Personal Protective Equipment. Wearing goggles, chemical resistant gloves, and fresh air masks may help protect you from chemical burns and/or inhaling these gases. When opening any pool chemical container be sure to do so out in the open air, and not inside an enclosed space. The open, fresh air helps to provide better ventilation for the chemical container you may be opening. Also, open it away from you, so that any harmful gasses are released away from you, to help prevent injury.
- Be sure that when you add any approved chemicals to your pool that you measure the appropriate amount of the chemical before adding to your pool. When you add more chemicals to the pool than you need to, you run the risk of potential chemical injuries while swimming in the pool.
- When adding chlorine to your swimming pool, always remember to add the chlorine to the water, and do not add water to the chlorine. When you add water to the chlorine it will begin to “heat up” and can create chlorine gas that is very dangerous.
- It is always recommended that you dilute granular chlorine (shock) before adding to the swimming pool. For example, you can use an empty bucket to dilute chlorine in but first, be sure that you have cleaned the bucket. The best way to clean a bucket is to rinse out the bucket with water to remove any remaining residue, then leave the bucket out in the sun for a few hours. Once the bucket is clean add water to the bucket, filling it over halfway. Then, add your pre-measured granular chlorine (shock) to the bucket of water. Stirring the water in the bucket will help to dilute the chlorine faster. Slowly pour the diluted chlorine from the bucket into the swimming pool, preferably over a wall return in the deep end.
- Never add chemicals to your swimming pool skimmers, unless the directions on the chemical containers instruct you to do so.
Following these safety tips when handling swimming pool chemicals can help you to safely treat your pool water. However, we do recommend that you contact your local pool professional in regards to safely maintaining your swimming pool for you. Hiring an experienced pool professional tomaintain/service your pool will provide you with the benefit of no longer having to handle those dangerous chemicals. Plus, you can simply enjoy your backyard oasis without having to spend that extra time caring for your pool.