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Thread: Chlorine Alternatives

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    Question Chlorine Alternatives

    My youngest daughter is sensitive to chlorine, so, after testing different chemicals, we found that she does best with Burnout 35, i.e., Lithium Hypochlorite. However, it's very expensive, as you know. I now see BioGuard offers this product, which is also chlorine-free: Oxysheen. Does anyone know anything about this product? Is it any good as a sanitizer? Burnout 35 does an excellent job in keeping the pool clean, but I would prefer a lower cost product, and Oxysheen is less expensive.

    Also, the pool store keeps telling me my CYA is too low. Uh, yeah, I know -- it's due to the Burnout 35, which is not protected by CYA. Is there any reason to keep a higher CYA when using this chlorine alternative?

    Thanks all.

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    Re: Chlorine Alternatives

    Lithium hypochlorite is chlorine. How can she be sensitive to sodium hypochlorite (liquid chlorine, bleach) but not lithium hypochlorite? The only difference is the additive that changes chlorine from a gas into either a liquid or a solid....Its still chlorine.

    Lithium hypochlorite is one of the most expensive varieties of chlorine as well.

    There are other issues with your water if people are having reactions to it. Chlorine almost always gets blamed even though the real issue is not having enough chlorine in the water.

    Your statement about not needing CYA is incorrect. You are not using a chlorine alternative, you are using an alternate form of chlorine.
    -Brian-
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    Re: Chlorine Alternatives

    Thanks for the response. I am not sure why she reacts to "regular" chlorine but not to Burnout 35. However, I've had my pool tested numerous times, the water looks great, and the only change I made was switching to Burnout 35 last summer. After that, she no longer showed any reaction after getting out of the pool. (BTW, we can't use bleach in our washer, either, without her having a reaction to it on her clothes).

    As for CYA, thanks. I did not know I still needed a sufficient amount of CYA, since Burnout 35 contains none.

    Any thoughts on the Oxysheen? Assuming that does not irritate her and cause a reaction, that seems to be cheaper.

    Thanks again.

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    Re: Chlorine Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by trclac View Post
    My youngest daughter is sensitive to chlorine, so, after testing different chemicals, we found that she does best with Burnout 35, i.e., Lithium Hypochlorite. However, it's very expensive, as you know. I now see BioGuard offers this product, which is also chlorine-free: Oxysheen. Does anyone know anything about this product? Is it any good as a sanitizer? Burnout 35 does an excellent job in keeping the pool clean, but I would prefer a lower cost product, and Oxysheen is less expensive.

    Also, the pool store keeps telling me my CYA is too low. Uh, yeah, I know -- it's due to the Burnout 35, which is not protected by CYA. Is there any reason to keep a higher CYA when using this chlorine alternative?

    Thanks all.
    Hi!

    As bdavis466 said, lithium hypochlorite is a chlorine pool sanitizer. It will produce the same end products when add to water as any other chlorine pool sanitizer - hypochlorous acid (HOCl), hypochlorite anion (OCl-) and chlorinated cyanurates (chlorine bound to CYA or CYA-Cl). The lithium counter ion (just like the sodium or calcium) is meaningless to the water chemistry. No matter where you get your active chlorine levels from, you absolutely need CYA to protect the chlorine from UV degradation as well as moderate the levels of hypochlorous acid in the water. If your water has little or no CYA in it, then the hypochlorous acid can reach high levels and be irritating. This is what usually happens in indoor commercial pools where they do not use CYA and you get a very strong chlorine odor and your bathing suit bleaches after just a few visits.

    I also agree that it is highly unlikely your daughter has an allergy to chlorine but most likely is sensitive to the chlorinated by-products of disinfection and sanitation known as combine chloramines. Monochloramine, dichloramine and nitrogen trichloride (extremely irritating to everyone) are formed when chlorine reacts with organics chemicals that contain amine-type groups (ammonia, urea, proteins, etc). While monochloramine and dichloramine can be tolerated by most people, nitrogen trichloride is very irritating to just about everyone and it is formed as chlorine oxidizes mono- and dichloramine. In a well maintained chlorine swimming pool, total CCs are typically kept under 0.5ppm and very little nitrogen trichloride is formed as many of the lower order CCs will be outgassed from the pool water or further degraded by UV from the sun. We typically see claims of "chlorine allergies" from people who have poorly maintained pool water either through use of pool service companies or from following pool store advice. If you read enough here on TFP you'll see that we stress the importance of self-testing and routine (daily) pool care. There are rare cases of people who have severe allergies to chlorine but that typically requires the diagnosis from a trained allergy specialist and an immune system mediated allergy is easily differentiated from an acute chemical exposure.

    The BioGuard OxySheen product is essentially potassium monopersulfate (MPS) non-chlorine shock. It is only an oxidizer and not a disinfectant. Therefore it is not a replacement to chlorine as it will not kill active pathogens. The product also contains a dry acid (potassium bisulfate) as well as trace amounts of magnesium carbonate. The MPS will act as an oxidizer but the dry acid will lower pH and TA as well add sulfates to your water which is not good over long periods of use as the sulfates build up and do not go away. The magnesium carbonate is minimal but magnesium is not something you want to intentionally add to your pool water if it can be avoided.

    If you have one of the Recommended Test Kits, then you can check your water yourself and I think you will be surprised at just how far off the pool store testing is.

    As for alternatives to chlorine, your only option is Baquacil (biguanide) which is very expensive, hard to control long term and we typically have more people switching away from it than to it. There are mineral based systems (Cu and Ag ions) but those use small amounts of chlorine as well and the metal ions are more trouble than their worth with staining and precipitation. They are also harder to control in terms of concentration levels and they have much slower, or even nonexistent, pathogen kill times.
    Matt
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    Re: Chlorine Alternatives

    Burnout 35 is lithium hypochlorite which is chlorine.

    Bleach combines chlorine primarily with salt and water to make liquid chlorine. Calcium Hypochlorite combines calcium with chlorine to make granular chlorine.

    You are adding chlorine to you pool. In your daughter's case, it was either a coincidence that her symptoms went away with the switch, or some other parameters were changed. How were you chlorinating the pool previously?

    Oxysheen is MPS (potassium monopersulfate). This product is primarily designed for spas at higher water temperatures and indoor pools; its purpose is to quickly reduce combined chloramines. At typical pool water temperatures, it is not an effective sanitizer (the Oxysheen container even states that it is not a sanitizer or algicide) and would require a sanitizer added to the water (chlorine) anyway.

    If you are looking to save money, liquid chlorine is your best bet since it is inexpensive, easily obtained, and very effective.

    Please post your test results.
    -Brian-
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    Chlorine Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by trclac View Post
    Thanks for the response. I am not sure why she reacts to "regular" chlorine but not to Burnout 35. However, I've had my pool tested numerous times, the water looks great, and the only change I made was switching to Burnout 35 last summer. After that, she no longer showed any reaction after getting out of the pool. (BTW, we can't use bleach in our washer, either, without her having a reaction to it on her clothes).

    As for CYA, thanks. I did not know I still needed a sufficient amount of CYA, since Burnout 35 contains none.

    Any thoughts on the Oxysheen? Assuming that does not irritate her and cause a reaction, that seems to be cheaper.

    Thanks again.
    I still believe your water chemistry is just not properly balanced. Do you have a test kit? If you wish to practice the TFPC method of pool care, testing your own water is paramount.

    Bleach in laundry is different in some critical ways. First, the active chlorine levels are much, much higher and, due to pH, there is more hypochlorite anion formed (OCl-) and bleach also contains both residual lye and salt from the manufacturing process (chloralkali process). A residual of lye can remain in bleached fabrics that are not properly rinsed where it will irritate skin. So, if your daughter does indeed have a skin sensitivity, then using bleach in your laundry can certainly produce what looks like a chlorine sensitivity but is actually a pH problem. I too find that bleached clothes give me rashes and irritations and I have mostly switched to using OxyClean which is a peroxide based bleaching agent. However, my chlorine pool never causes me any discomfort. So while I can easily elicit a sensitivity on myself by using bleach in my laundry, I get no such response from my pool. After considering the available evidence, it is most likely the residual lye left over in improperly rinsed clothing that causes me the most trouble.
    Last edited by JoyfulNoise; 12-27-2015 at 09:25 AM. Reason: Updated paragraph on laundry to clarify proper chemical residual
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Chlorine Alternatives

    Thanks for the responses. Prior to switching to Burnout 35, I was using a combination of liquid bleach and BioGuard Chlorine tabs (which contain CYA). We took my daughter to a doctor to determine what she was reacting to. It turned out to be bleach byproducts (some medical terms I cannot pretend to remember), but the doctor advised against using bleach in the laundry or pool. We then switched to Burnout 35 and haven't seen any problems. But the reason for the low CYA is, obviously, the lack of use of those pucks (as the liquid bleach we were using to maintain has no CYA).

    Thanks for the thoughts. I appreciate the responses; perhaps she could have been having a reaction to the liquid bleach we were pouring in every other day. I don't know. Like I said, all I know is her symptoms went away after removing the liquid bleach.

    Thanks.

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    Re: Chlorine Alternatives

    For your daughter and wallet I REALLY urge you to take control of your pool. There is NOTHING like testing your pool with your own test kit.

    Let me tell you a story...............I took my water to three different pool stores (PS) within an hour of pulling the water. NONE of the store tests were the same! This was wrong at this store and cost $50 and that and this was wrong and would cost $150 to fix!

    I had tested the SAME water at home and it was purr-fect!

    The pool store is in business to sell you stuff. We are here to help you and your daughter. We get nothing except a smile when things go right for you pool and daughter.

    Give your daughter a hug from me please.

    Kim
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    Re: Chlorine Alternatives

    If you have pre-decided that chlorine is not for you, this forum will not be a good resource.

    We are firm believers of the simplicity and safety of chlorine and thousands and thousands use it everyday as the single best way to sanitize your pool and keep it pristine.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Chlorine Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    For your daughter and wallet I REALLY urge you to take control of your pool. There is NOTHING like testing your pool with your own test kit.

    Let me tell you a story...............I took my water to three different pool stores (PS) within an hour of pulling the water. NONE of the store tests were the same! This was wrong at this store and cost $50 and that and this was wrong and would cost $150 to fix!

    I had tested the SAME water at home and it was purr-fect!

    The pool store is in business to sell you stuff. We are here to help you and your daughter. We get nothing except a smile when things go right for you pool and daughter.

    Give your daughter a hug from me please.

    Kim
    Thanks. I am purchasing my own kit. But the fact that Burnout 35 is chlorine, and her symptoms resolved once I thought I had removed the chlorine really makes me wonder. Perhaps I was using a crappy liquid bleach ... we were using non-name brands rather than Clorox to save a few cents.

    I'll begin next spring with the pucks again and then re-introduce liquid bleach, once I am sure all other levels are proper. We'll see how she does, or whether I am stuck shelling out $$$ for Burnout 35.

    I have to say, though ... Burnout 35 does a great job at 1.5 pounds per week. Crystal clear water all the time. It's just too expensive.

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    Chlorine Alternatives

    I think without test results, this is just going to be a back & forth discussion of experiences and subjective stories. Not that that isn't worthwhile but, without numbers, there's little that can be done to drill down and figure out what's really going on.

    To the OP, I notice that you've been a registered user here at TFP since 2009. I'm curious, do you own a test kit? As I said, TFP teaches self-reliance in terms of pool care. The very best thing you can do for your daughter and the rest of your family is to get a test kit and care for your pool water chemistry yourself. Pool Stores are not chemistry experts, they are merchants. And the primary function of a merchant is to sell you something. They do not care about your pool as much as you do. This is evidenced by the fact that someone at the pool store handed you MPS shock and said, in effect," hey, try this instead." Completely wrong advice as MPS is not an alternative to chlorine. So you see now why we are so stubborn when it comes to testing and numbers.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Chlorine Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    I think without test results, this is just going to be a back & forth discussion of experiences and subjective stories. Not that that isn't worthwhile but, without numbers, there's little that can be done to drill down and figure out what's really going on.

    To the OP, I notice that you've been a registered user here at TFP since 2009. I'm curious, do you own a test kit? As I said, TFP teaches self-reliance in terms of pool care. The very best thing you can do for your daughter and the rest of your family is to get a test kit and care for your pool water chemistry yourself. Pool Stores are not chemistry experts, they are merchants. And the primary function of a merchant is to sell you something. They do not care about your pool as much as you do. This is evidenced by the fact that someone at the pool store handed you MPS shock and said, in effect," hey, try this instead." Completely wrong advice as MPS is not an alternative to chlorine. So you see now why we are so stubborn when it comes to testing and numbers.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk,16k gal SWG pool (All Pentair), QuadDE100 Filter, Taylor K-2006
    Yes, I did have a test kit, which I purchased shortly after joining the forum. However, things got hectic around 2010-2011, (did I mention a young daughter?) , I stopped using it, and I started simply going to the PS. As noted, I am obtaining a new test kit, similar to what I had before, as that was a good kit. I just unfortunately let it go to waste.

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    Re: Chlorine Alternatives

    Quote Originally Posted by trclac View Post
    Yes, I did have a test kit, which I purchased shortly after joining the forum. However, things got hectic around 2010-2011, (did I mention a young daughter?) , I stopped using it, and I started simply going to the PS. As noted, I am obtaining a new test kit, similar to what I had before, as that was a good kit. I just unfortunately let it go to waste.
    Yep, I understand hectic - I have three young boys (10, 7 & 3) and a baby girl due March 2016.

    Let us know when you get your test kit and what numbers you get; we'll be happy to help.


    Matt
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    Re: Chlorine Alternatives

    I will add too that she is not reacting to chlorine in her clothes after a wash, because there is no residue, or trace of chlorine in them once they ar done. It might be something else in the laundry recipe, but not chlorine. It simply does not remain in the fabric. As said, chlorine is often looked too as a source of skin irritation, but it rarely, if ever is the case. As Bleach use goes, Clorox will provide nothing better in these terms, than "off brand" products.
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