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Thread: Metal Effects on Health (not pool)

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    Metal Effects on Health (not pool)

    Hello,

    I recently purchased a new home, with a pool, and have been reading/studying everything I can on pool maintenance. Unfortunately our copper levels (which I believe were due to a old pool heater, which is now bypassed), were significantly elevated. I have been working to get the metal levels low, and while going through that process I wanted to know if there is a danger for our kids to swim in the pool.
    The pH, total chlorine, free chlorine, alkalinity, CYA, and hardness are all in normal range.
    We have a CUlator in the pool (which I know may or may not work, and I will update with my results), as well as having used several Liters of MetalFree (used at a time of very low pH due to erroneous advice, which may have impeded the sequestration), have cleaned out the DE filter, and have now ordered Metal Magic. Unfortunately I believe the initial levels were extremely elevated, and it is a process.

    The main question (other than any other suggestions to get the metal out), is can we swim in a pool with elevated metal levels, or does this represent a health hazard (pregnant wife, and 2 small children)

    Thanks for any advice!
    12.5K gallons, AG - 15x30 oval, 2 hp 2 speed Pump, 22" Sand Filter, 25 sq ft Cartridge filter, AstralPool VX7S Salt Chlorinator, TF-100

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Metal Effects on Health (not pool)

    Just how high are your copper levels? Copper in drinking water just starts to be a minor issue at 1.3 ppm. For swimming the level can be quite a bit higher than that before there are any health issues, since skin absorption is much slower than ingestion. Meanwhile copper starts to be an issue for metal stains at 0.3 ppm, so you don't want it anywhere near as high as 1.3 ppm.

    Keep in mind that sequestrant won't remove the copper from the water, it just holds it in solution to prevent it from forming stains.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: Metal Effects on Health (not pool)

    How much do you know of the history of the pool? Could it be that the previous owners had a "mineral" system on the pool, that just prior to selling was removed?

    That would be more likely in my mind to account for the elevated copper level.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: Metal Effects on Health (not pool)

    Thanks for the reply. There was a 10+ yr old heater, that we believe was the cause. I don't know if there was a mineral system or not...

    As for the levels I don't know how high it once was, as the people at Leslies pools would only say its the highest they had see all year (wish I had got a #)! It is now around 1ppm. Does sequestering the metals prevent any deleterious effects? Meaning if you had say a pool with significantly elevated levels (hypothetically 10ppm), but were able to sequester below 0.3ppm, could the sequestered copper be an issue? Or only free unbound copper?
    I realize there is a difference in what would lead to stains, but I am more concerned about my 2 kids under the age of 4, and my pregnant wife!

    Thank you all so much for your thoughts, and input!
    12.5K gallons, AG - 15x30 oval, 2 hp 2 speed Pump, 22" Sand Filter, 25 sq ft Cartridge filter, AstralPool VX7S Salt Chlorinator, TF-100

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: Metal Effects on Health (not pool)

    In order for the heater to have been the cause, the pool's pH would have had to been either way too acidic or way too base (alkaline) for an extended period of time, on the order of several months or longer. That is why I suggested that there may have been a mineral system involved for that level of copper in the pool.

    What to do about it....There is a product available called CuLator (google) that may be able to remove it from the water.

    I'm sorry, but to the question of health risks, I can't answer that. I would think that there would be some, however it may be that the main risk at your current levels may be nothing more that green hair and possible staining of your liner.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: Metal Effects on Health (not pool)

    You aren't drinking the pool water and though there is dermal absorption, it mostly leads to dermatitis in some individuals at higher copper levels. It is not absorbed through the skin into blood (there is generally poor absorption of electrolytes through normal skin) -- the primary route for chronic and toxic effects is through drinking water with copper and having it absorbed via acidity in the stomach. Most excess copper is excreted so you either have to have an extremely large dose (usually of solid copper sulfate) or drink a lot of water every day with lots of copper in it.

    The main purpose of the metal sequestrant is to prevent staining, not to prevent absorption into your body, but it may reduce the likelihood of dermatitis though that is already unlikely to begin with.
    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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    Re: Metal Effects on Health (not pool)

    Thank you all for the advice. As for the pool heater, when we checked the pH was extremely low, on the test strips, it was as low as the measurement went (as for how long, we have no idea, as we moved in 3 weeks ago). I hope it was the pool heater, otherwise there may be another way the copper is coming in, that we have not diagnosed.

    I bought a CUlator, and have placed it in the skimmer just yesterday, I know people have had uncertain results, I will be sure to post my own thoughts as it goes.

    I have already poured in 4 Liters of Metal Free, 2 more Liters of another sequestrant (forgot the name), and just bought 4 bottles of Metal Magic, that I will add. From what I have read, we have added a large amount of sequestrant, to not have eliminated the copper yet, though it does finally seem to be coming down. As it is finally coming down, we are happy. It worries me though how high the initial level was concerning everything we have poured in so far.
    IT sounds like most of you think this is not a major issue, as we wont be drinking the water. Any known issues with absorption through the eyes underwater?
    12.5K gallons, AG - 15x30 oval, 2 hp 2 speed Pump, 22" Sand Filter, 25 sq ft Cartridge filter, AstralPool VX7S Salt Chlorinator, TF-100

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    Re: Metal Effects on Health (not pool)

    Quote Originally Posted by ydave77
    Any known issues with absorption through the eyes underwater?
    None that I could find except for solid copper sulfate, but that's extraordinarily concentrated. The levels of copper you are talking about in your pool can't be that high because you'd have copper stains or precipitated copper hydroxide at normal pool pH.
    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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