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Thread: Is the BBB method safe?

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    Is the BBB method safe?

    My wife and I are having a disagreement about whether the BBB method is safe for children. I am trying to tell her that they are the same chemicals just different names. Can anyone help? Am I wrong is borak and baking soda bad fr you.
    24 foot round 12,000 gallons
    Above Ground
    Sand Filter 1.5 hp
    pool age 10 years approx

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Is the BBB method safe?

    Welcome to the forum...

    There are thousands of people that use BBB, so of course it's safe, or we wouldn't be doing it. Chlorine is the most effective sanitizer for pool water. I would argue that not using chlorine is unsafe, because the likelihood of pathogens growing in the pool climbs quickly.

    Whether you put pool store chemicals or laundry bleach in the pool, the same reaction takes place, and the end result of that reaction is what keeps the pool clean.

    Take a look at pool school (upper right corner) for lots more info.
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Is the BBB method safe?

    You are going to open another can of worms if we start debating what is "safe". Everything we recommend here is perfectly safe in the quantities recommended. All "pool store chemicals" are made of the same ingredients as the stuff we use from the grocery store.
    Alkalinity Up = baking soda
    Liquid chlorine = bleach
    etc
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    Re: Is the BBB method safe?

    She was particularly concerned about the use of borax? Any info about that in particular
    24 foot round 12,000 gallons
    Above Ground
    Sand Filter 1.5 hp
    pool age 10 years approx

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Is the BBB method safe?

    When I was just a lad, we washed our hands using Boraxo hand soap. It was in dispensers right there in the school bathroom. I still have both hands, and they work fine.

    You don't have to use Borax in your pool. Many of us don't, me included.

    And if your wife thinks Baking Soda is bad for you... well, I'll stop there and save the moderators some work.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: Is the BBB method safe?

    What would you use rather than borax?
    24 foot round 12,000 gallons
    Above Ground
    Sand Filter 1.5 hp
    pool age 10 years approx

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Is the BBB method safe?

    You only need borax if you need to raise the pH ... many of use do not have that problem and are using muriatic acid to have to constantly lower the pH.

    HAving to raise the pH is a side-effect of using pucks and dichlor which are very acidic. If you use liquid chlorine, you may never have to add borax to raise the pH.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Is the BBB method safe?

    The whole point of BBB is to understand the chemicals going in your pool and why they're going in your pool. Here's one you'll hear a lot around here: read the ingredient list!!

    Quote Originally Posted by timhof13
    What would you use rather than borax?
    Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda accomplishes the same thing -- 85% sodium carbonate, 15% water.

    Compare to the "super safe" pool store chemicals:

    Bioguard Balance Pak 200: 100% sodium carbonate
    HTH pH Plus: 99.8% sodium carbonate
    In the Swim pH Increaser: 100% sodium carbonate

    They're all soda ash with fancy name and fancy packaging (and a price jacked to the stratosphere!!).

    We could really go on forever.
    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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    thehowheels's Avatar
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    Re: Is the BBB method safe?

    Is Borax safe?

    Well, where to start. Asking the question "is X safe?" is probably never the right question to ask. In reality, the answer depends on quantity.

    Wikipedia lists some information about the toxicity of borax.

    Here's the Material Safety Data Sheet for Borax, which lists it as a health hazard index of "1", the same as salt or baking soda. Unsurprisingly, Borax is toxic at very high concentrations. At high enough concentrations, so is salt and baking soda, and even water.

    Boron is a natural element, and is essential to life. It is critical for bone metabolism and brain nutrition.

    But regardless of all of that, how much borax do you think you'll be consuming when you're swimming? According to the 20 Mule Team data sheet, "Low acute dermal toxicity; LD50 in rabbits is greater than 10,000 mg/kg of body weight. Borax is poorly absorbed through intact skin". As such, I don't believe there is much, if any, boron that will be absorbed into the body as a result of being in a swimming pool with the presence of borates.
    Matt
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    Trouble-free, BBB since: April 25, 2013

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    Re: Is the BBB method safe?

    BBB method is 100% safe using the recommended levels suggested here, I add borax to my pool for the added sparkle it gives the water and the feel of the water but that is optional. If you do choose the BBB method you might not ever need to add borax to raise the pH, my wife had the same concerns when I told her what I was going to use in the pool, bleach, baking soda and muriatic acid until I showed her this website and now she loves the way the water looks and feels and the smell of the water or should I say.the lack of chlorine odor.......Mike
    18x52 intex ultra frame pool 6981 gallons, 1 HP LL pump with 19 in sand filter,BBB method,borax 50ppm
    leslies DPD test kit + fas-dpd chlorine test kit + borates test strips
    thru wall skimmer,hard plumbed with 2 returns 1 1/2 sch 40 pvc
    1 large fountain 1 inch sch 40 pvc,shut off ball valves on all

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Is the BBB method safe?

    Like others have said Borax is optional, and I would guess the majority of us have NEVER used it. That being said depending on your particular water conditions you may find adding Borax improves your pool experience, but you can always cross that bridge if and when you come to it.

    BBB is really about understanding pool chemistry and only adding the things needed to maintain your pool, this often means not using various magic in a bottle quick fixes made up of unknown chemicals, etc. At the core there is nothing in BBB that means you can't purchase your baking soda from the pool store at 200% markup, the same goes for Liquid Chlorine / Bleach, etc. Just many of us think it is foolish to overpay for things. Hey I admit I sometimes do it anyway, I just bought a 10 pound tub of TA up (Sodium Bicarbonate) in other words baking soda at the local pool store last week, sure I could have bought it for half the price at Wal-Mart, but I was in the pool store anyway needing a replacement skimmer basket and did not want to make another stop. The point is here I knowingly bought the chemical, not some magic stuff that raises TA.

    Ike
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