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Thread: BBB and chlorine health

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    BBB and chlorine health

    Not sure if this is the right category to post in, please move if not. I'm switching away from trichlor pucks to liquid chlorine (at least most of the time is my plan, when I'm not out of town). I understand that the smell of chlorine, the burning eyes, etc. are supposed to be lessened by doing this method. Late last season, I saw an increase in those problems, probably due to high CYA levels and not adding enough liquid to keep FC high enough. I know the smell is from combined chlorine or chloramines, I get that. Now the question, though - does this also mean that any health issues related to chlorine are lessened or eliminated? I mean, there is still chlorine in the pool, after all. We're still swimming in chlorine! Probably no one can argue that chlorine is health per se, right? Specifically, we have always tried to follow common sense measures when swimming, such as rinsing off when done for a while, or not soaking too long in the pool. Does BBB mean I can forget about that if I'm doing it right? Just as safe as soaking in tap water? I would appreciate if you could elaborate or point me to some further reading. I tried to explain to my wife today that BBB is healthier, but the noticed that I can't really state that with confidence and definitely can't explain why. Thank you.
    screened-in 10,500 gal IG gunite pool, DiamondBrite, 1.5 HP Hayward Super II Pump, Hayward Star-Clear Plus C1200 Cartridge Filter, Hayward Pool Vac Ultra, 6 solar panel heater.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    Essentially all of the health concerns associated with chlorine are the result of disinfection byproducts, which we call CC, or combined chlorine. If you follow our recommendations you can minimize the CC level, coming very close to eliminating it entirely. But if you let CYA get too high and don't properly maintain your FC level CC can build up and can pose health risks. That is true regardless of the source of chlorine (trichlor tablets, bleach, liquid chlorine, cal-hypo, etc).

    Tap water has far higher active levels of chlorine, but generally has extremely low levels of the hazardous kinds of CC. If you maintain your pool properly, the active chlorine levels will be much lower and CC levels about the same.
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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    Quote Originally Posted by versstef1
    I tried to explain to my wife today that BBB is healthier, but the noticed that I can't really state that with confidence and definitely can't explain why. Thank you.
    Remember that BBB isn't about what you put in the pool. It's about understanding what you put in the pool, and why you're putting it in the pool.

    Whether you put "pool store chemicals" with fancy names on there or plain old laundry bleach, they both turn into the same disinfecting molecules when they hit the water. BBB eliminates the "extras"/nonsense/just plain snake oil, allowing you to only put in what you need (because you know it needs it), which in turn results in a cleaner pool and all of the other characteristics that Jason spoke of above.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    So you guys don't even feel the need to shower after swimming to "get the chlorine off"?
    screened-in 10,500 gal IG gunite pool, DiamondBrite, 1.5 HP Hayward Super II Pump, Hayward Star-Clear Plus C1200 Cartridge Filter, Hayward Pool Vac Ultra, 6 solar panel heater.

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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    Quote Originally Posted by versstef1
    So you guys don't even feel the need to shower after swimming to "get the chlorine off"?
    I don't take a shower before or after but i'm sure this is a very personal preference. I don't have a huge bather load either. When i get it all dirty from yard work i hop in by the skimmer and all the dirt/grass goes straight in....I do wash my hair every couple of days with a specialty shampoo that strips my hair of everything. I have a salt water pool and it leaves my skin feeling just fine.
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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    Quote Originally Posted by versstef1
    So you guys don't even feel the need to shower after swimming to "get the chlorine off"?
    Let's see, I get out of the pool where there's equivilent to about .6 ppm chlorine because of the CYA and go get in the shower where there's about 2 ppm chlorine to wash the .6 ppm of chlorine off. Uh, no I don't see the need! But I jest!

    I know that's not a good analogy but I liked it. And no, I don't shower .....



    just to get the chlorine off.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    that's just so weird and so different from everything I've ever been believed!
    screened-in 10,500 gal IG gunite pool, DiamondBrite, 1.5 HP Hayward Super II Pump, Hayward Star-Clear Plus C1200 Cartridge Filter, Hayward Pool Vac Ultra, 6 solar panel heater.

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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    I remember when i used to go to a neighborhood pool when i was a teenager. I'd go all summer every day and swim/play for hours. I also helped take care of the pool and life guarded one summer. This pool was maintained by some sort of chlorine puck feeder device. I remember bloodshot eyes, the chlorine smell and green hair tips by the end of summer. It had showers in the bathroom and we all used them because you just didn't feel clean after using it.

    My pool now is nothing like that experience i had growing up. I can't smell chlorine, i can barely taste the salt. I get out dry off and when i'm completely dry my skin is not itch or dry. I don't feel dirty/sticky/itch or anything, i feel (skin) like i just took a shower. Once you get your pool under control through this change over process from what everyone says here yours should be the same minus the salt (which you could had anyway if you wanted too).

    I hesitate to write that we no longer do "bath-time" on nights that the kids swam before/after dinner....
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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    There's nothing more rewarding than having guests say (unsolicited) one or all of the following:

    "Wow, how do you keep your water so clean!"

    "My eyes aren't burning, and it doesn't even smell like a pool!"

    "Wow, that water is clear. Who takes care of your pool for you?"
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    Shhh...don't tell anyone...but I use the pool as my bathtub and almost never take a shower or bath in the summertime at home This works because I keep my chlorine level (and other important parameters like cya) maintained properly.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    I had a friend over this past week and we (her, DW and me) were just chatting as I was pulling the pool toys out of the water to start the filter (so they don't get stuck in skimmer) and check my levels. My deck on the side of the pool where she was standing is about 3.5 feet from the top of the wall and she was leaning out into the pool area, this puts your nose about 1.5 feet above the water surface. She said it looked great and I thanked her. She then asked what I used to keep it clean. I reached down to the ground below me and pulled up my bottle of GV 6% bleach. She was stunned. She also said she could not smell the bleach. I told her that if the pool is maintained correctly, it won't smell of bleach. It was nice to have my hard work recognized. My pool has never looked better since being a true BBB believer.
    -- Guy --
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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    Unbelievable! And all that just by putting in enough chlorine for the respective CYA level, right?
    screened-in 10,500 gal IG gunite pool, DiamondBrite, 1.5 HP Hayward Super II Pump, Hayward Star-Clear Plus C1200 Cartridge Filter, Hayward Pool Vac Ultra, 6 solar panel heater.

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    Yep, though you also want to maintain ph and to a lesser extent TA properly.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    Quote Originally Posted by linen
    Yep, though you also want to maintain ph and to a lesser extent TA properly.
    Right, right, I know there's more overall, and I'm well on making my way to Pool School Level 2. This was more just in terms of the fact that the chlorine smell and danger and all that is gone from the water. More can be less, that's what's so fascinating.
    screened-in 10,500 gal IG gunite pool, DiamondBrite, 1.5 HP Hayward Super II Pump, Hayward Star-Clear Plus C1200 Cartridge Filter, Hayward Pool Vac Ultra, 6 solar panel heater.

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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    Quote Originally Posted by linen
    Shhh...don't tell anyone...but I use the pool as my bathtub and almost never take a shower or bath in the summertime at home This works because I keep my chlorine level (and other important parameters like cya) maintained properly.
    Okay well if we are going to be completely honest the only reason i've taken a shower since the pool was installed was to get the smoke smell from the BBQ grill out of my hair....

    This thread got me thinking, what would happen if i used some of this in the pool?

    http://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/PEP.htm used to use that stuff in the mountain streams during camping/backpacking trips.....
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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    This thread got me thinking, what would happen if i used some of this in the pool?

    http://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/PEP.htm used to use that stuff in the mountain streams during camping/backpacking trips
    Soap/surfactants and fragrances will be oxidized by chlorine and can cause foaming. I would not use them in the pool...but chlorine will get rid of them therefore increasing your chlorine demand.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    For me, about the only thing I need to watch (most of the time) is my FC. My pH is rock solid and doesn't move unless I add something. Last year it was all pucks and fighting algae. This year, BBB, CYA (fresh fill this year), MA and new test kit. It has never looked better or been easier. My wife mentioned it yesterday that I have not had to fight the pool to keep it looking great.... like I did last year.

    Basically, all I have needed to do this year have been get my levels fixed and add some bleach every day or two depending on weather and use.
    -- Guy --
    10K gallons in 21' Round 52 inch wall Aqualeader AG, Hayward Power Flow LX 1.5 HP pump motor, Hayward Perflex EC50AC DE filter w/Cellulose, Wide mouth skimmer, 2013 new Diver Dan (craigslist) to replace the faded old Hayward AquaBug. TF-100

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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    With all these positives I feel I need to at least put forth some counterpoint. My wife is a very sensitive person. Very sensitive to smell, to taste, to touch, etc. She swims in our pool almost every day for swim therapy for roughly an hour. She can smell a faint whiff of "clean" chlorine smell (like bleach) when the water is churned up and if I am in the pool I can barely sense that myself though it's harder for me to notice even after quite a bit of churning. The "official" odor and taste threshold for chlorine in water is around 0.3 ppm and with CYA in the water the FC equivalent is less than that (and such threshold tests for odor from volatile liquids are very subjective since the amount in air will depend on how saturated it gets from outgassing). So I think noticing the chlorine smell will vary by person, but it will most certainly be a LOT lower than most commercial/public pools especially indoor ones that don't use CYA.

    The low active chlorine concentration that is made possible by using CYA means that the chlorine oxidation of swimsuits, skin and hair will be slower and the rate of creation of disinfection by-products will be slower. Indoor commercial/public pools that typically do not have any CYA in them and have 1-2 ppm FC (sometimes more) have at least 10-20 times higher active chlorine levels so not only smell more like chlorine, but react with swimsuits, skin and hair that much faster as well. My wife hates that every winter season she has to use an indoor commercial pool.

    Now, ironically, when you had the FC be too low or the CYA be too high (i.e. the FC/CYA ratio be too low), the active chlorine level was actually lower, but could be so low as to allow a buildup of chloramines and those smell much more. Basically, too high an FC/CYA or not having any CYA is a problem and too low FC/CYA is a problem. We try and hit the sweet spot that also allows one to keep algae at bay without the need for additional chemicals.
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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    Two things. 1. How do you determine "actual PPM" for a given FC/CYA ratio? I tested my tap water last night and it had about 2-3 PPM, which seems really high. According to the county water test report, this is supposed to be around 1 PPM. Either way, how do I get the equivalent number for my pool?

    2. Not sure I can make this distinction really well, but the question we still have is this: Just because the chlorine is "bound up" in the CYA, that doesn't mean it's not in the water, right? So there would still be absorption of it into the skin at all times, regardless of what the "active" or "actual" FC level might be? And what about the stabilizer itself, couldn't that in theory be considered a harmful chemical in its own right? This is regardless of felt or smelled impressions - it's still in the water, no and thus in the skin, no?

    It's not like we will stop swimming, but understanding this does seem to make a difference in whether we consider the pool something hazardous that should at least be minimized or something entirely benign that can be enjoyed for hours on end. I mean, it's certainly not as healthy as an alpine mountain stream, so where does it fall on the health hazard scale?

    Thank you.
    screened-in 10,500 gal IG gunite pool, DiamondBrite, 1.5 HP Hayward Super II Pump, Hayward Star-Clear Plus C1200 Cartridge Filter, Hayward Pool Vac Ultra, 6 solar panel heater.

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    Re: BBB and chlorine health

    Being in water, even assuming it is magically perfectly sanitary without any chemicals but water, is by far the most dangerous thing about swimming. People drown, which is the big risk. No chemical regime will ever make swimming totally safe.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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