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Thread: Adding borax 3 weeks ago....now itching skin??

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    lka674's Avatar
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    Adding borax 3 weeks ago....now itching skin??

    FC 5.5
    CC 0
    TC 5.5
    pH 7.3ish
    TA 60
    CH 430
    CYA 60
    Borate 50

    We haven't been in the pool since before I added the borax on Sept 6 and yesterday my husband decided to get in for the first time. He does not know that I added borates, since I handle the pool and we really just don't talk about what I do or don't do. He was almost immediately complaining of his skin itching while he was IN the water and I too have noticed my arm itching when I go to get testing samples from under the surface.

    Anyone heard of borax causing this type of skin irritation IN the water?? I know in powder form it can cause eye and skin irritation, but I had always heard that adding borates to pool water actually made the water less likely to cause itching/irritation.

    Maybe it's not the borax at all but maybe my pH is a little lower than usual is causing it? I heard pH didn't start to cause irritation until below 7.2.....

    Thanks for any comments.

    LK
    Pool grand opening Sept 2010. 100% sun exposure. Beach entry with fountain, IG gunite pool, approx 11,000g. Hayward HK sand filter. Intelliflow VS 350 pump w/ max flow rate 160 gpm. Dolphin (cordless) M5 Liberty pool cleaner. The pool has waterfall at one end with a tanning ledge and a spa at the other end that has a spillway into the pool and there is a water shear falling from the pool equip wall into the spa. DH did a beautiful job of designing it himself!

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    Re: Adding borax 3 weeks ago....now itching skin??

    It's the first report I can recall regarding any skin itching or irritation from borates in the water. Raise the pH to 7.5 or so and see if the problem persists.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Adding borax 3 weeks ago....now itching skin??

    Just out of curiosity, what kind of borate did you use, and where did you get it from? I wonder if it's possible there was some other type of additive?

    I use borates and have allergies/eczema and my borates actually have the opposite effect. At 50 ppm in theory it should actually leave your skin soft. Borates are used in a lot of skin products for a mild anti fungal effect.
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Adding borax 3 weeks ago....now itching skin??

    Experiment suggestion (after increasing ph.)
    If your skin reaction persists, have a bath with a bath bomb and see if you have a reaction. Borax is main ingredient I most "holistic" bath salts and bombs.
    Another test: add a quarter cup to your laundry as cleaning booster. Wash some shirts. See if you or h. react to the shirts. Calculate how many ppm would be in the laundry.

    Borates leave the water with splash out and draining/dilution just like cya. If it turns out you actually are reacting to the borates, please let us know so we can warn people only to add if they know they're not allergic.

    Hopefully, you'll find that's not what it is.
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Qwaxalot's Avatar
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    Re: Adding borax 3 weeks ago....now itching skin??

    Quote Originally Posted by lka674
    FC 5.5
    CC 0
    TC 5.5
    pH 7.3ish
    TA 60
    CH 430
    CYA 60
    Borate 50

    We haven't been in the pool since before I added the borax on Sept 6 and yesterday my husband decided to get in for the first time. He does not know that I added borates, since I handle the pool and we really just don't talk about what I do or don't do. He was almost immediately complaining of his skin itching while he was IN the water and I too have noticed my arm itching when I go to get testing samples from under the surface.

    Anyone heard of borax causing this type of skin irritation IN the water?? I know in powder form it can cause eye and skin irritation, but I had always heard that adding borates to pool water actually made the water less likely to cause itching/irritation.

    Maybe it's not the borax at all but maybe my pH is a little lower than usual is causing it? I heard pH didn't start to cause irritation until below 7.2.....

    Thanks for any comments.

    LK
    I think it's very likely that your phenol red (pH reagent) is bad. get some fresh reagent and retest pH. I'll bet it's less than 7.
    In the industry, CSP (Certified Service Professional) by the NSPI and it's successor the APSP. My company services over 600 pools every year. I think the practices regularly espoused on this forum (especially the BBB method) are outstanding; however my comments will be often oriented towards the goal of getting it done, and getting it done right now!

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    lka674's Avatar
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    Re: Adding borax 3 weeks ago....now itching skin??

    I used 20 Mule Borax and I purchased it from my grocery store, Qwaxalot was correct about the phenol red being bad....pH was very likely below 7, I've been aerating and will get hubby to get in the spa today to see if its better now that we r back up to around 7.4ish. Thank you all for comments and I'll let you know the final verdict. A good sign tho is that my arm isn't itching anymore when I'm taking my samples!
    Pool grand opening Sept 2010. 100% sun exposure. Beach entry with fountain, IG gunite pool, approx 11,000g. Hayward HK sand filter. Intelliflow VS 350 pump w/ max flow rate 160 gpm. Dolphin (cordless) M5 Liberty pool cleaner. The pool has waterfall at one end with a tanning ledge and a spa at the other end that has a spillway into the pool and there is a water shear falling from the pool equip wall into the spa. DH did a beautiful job of designing it himself!

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Adding borax 3 weeks ago....now itching skin??

    Excellent news! It's exceedingly rare to be allergic to borax and I was hoping that was not the case.
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!
    Helpful Links:
    GET A TEST KIT Chlorine/CYA Chart How to SLAM About Metals & Stains

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