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Thread: Clorine free pools?

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    Clorine free pools?

    Has anyone ever tried the chlorine-free systems? ChlorFree- Aquasmart or The Healthcare System? I had some one ask me about them and I have found 2 that look interesting. I have loved using the BBB system, but just wondered if any of you have tried these Chlorine free systems. Disney World uses one, so it is not crazy!
    35000 in ground vinyl liner with cartridge filter
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  2. Back To Top    #2

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    I don't know all the chemistry, but systems that are 'supposedly' chlorine free usually require a minimal (and therefore ~ useless) amount of chlorine anyway Baq is a non-chlorine system the gov. certified for use, but has a bunch of problems. I'm sure one of the chem experts will come here and 'rail' (better than I have) on the 'no chlorine systems' , complete with why they don't work, but all I can tell you is that the mineral, etc systems CAN NOT keep your pool as clean/ healthy as a chlorine pool can!!!!

    Welcome to TFP, Carolynn I'm sure that the chem experts will be 'up in arms' about what Disney does (and it wouldn't surprise me to find that they know Disney's secret to maintaining a 'non-chlorine' pool [I think the secret is that they do use LOTS of chlorine]

    Anyway, until the chem experts respond to this, I'll let my answer stand
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

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  3. Back To Top    #3

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    The Disney World system is described here and it is essentially a bromine system that uses electrolysis to convert bromide to bromine (similar to a regular saltwater chlorine generator pool that converts chloride to chlorine).

    It's ironic that they claim that "chlorine and chlorine products are a main source of allergies associated with swimming pools" because more people are actually sensitive to bromine than to chlorine. It is true that an improperly maintained chlorine pool can have disinfection by-products that smell or are irritating, but a properly maintained chlorine pool has no such problems. In fact, a chlorine pool with Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in it is far less harsh than a bromine system, even though bromine is a weaker oxidizer at equivalent concentration (the key being that chlorine's effective concentration is very, very low in a properly maintained pool).

    Aquasmart is a water purifier so does not sanitize the water and is described here while Superior Aqua Systems Healthcare systems is a metal ion (silver, copper) system and is described here. Silver will kill pathogens slowly so prevent uncontrolled growth, but are not fast enough to prevent person-to-person transmission (or bird poop to person transmission, etc.).

    You can read more about alternative sanitizers in waterbear's Sticky here.

    Is there a particular concern you have about chlorine?

    Richard
    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"

  4. Back To Top    #4
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    The Healthcare System is a copper/silver and UV system. Copper and silver are partially effective as disinfecting agents but their level of activity is far lower than chlorine. Effective levels of copper/silver must be very high, right near the level where obvious stains appear, and even then their bacterial kill times are far slower than for chlorine. To use such a system safely you must also use chlorine, which the more honest manufacturers of copper/silver systems will admit. As long as you are using chlorine, why bother with the copper/silver system? Chlorine is highly effective on it's own and doesn't run the risk of causing metal stains.

    UV can work quite well on the water that actually passes through the UV cell. But the great majority of the water is in the pool and hasn't been through the UV cell recently. Again, you must also use chlorine to keep the rest of the water safe, so why bother with the UV system?
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  5. Back To Top    #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    The Disney World system is described here and it is essentially a bromine system that uses electrolysis to convert bromide to bromine (similar to a regular saltwater chlorine generator pool that converts chloride to chlorine).

    It's ironic that they claim that "chlorine and chlorine products are a main source of allergies associated with swimming pools" because more people are actually sensitive to bromine than to chlorine. It is true that an improperly maintained chlorine pool can have disinfection by-products that smell or are irritating, but a properly maintained chlorine pool has no such problems. In fact, a chlorine pool with Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in it is far less harsh than a bromine system, even though bromine is a weaker oxidizer at equivalent concentration (the key being that chlorine's effective concentration is very, very low in a properly maintained pool).
    There is quite a bit of marketing hype in the cited article. One of the main reasons that commercial recreational water facilities like Disney use bromine is that it simplifies some other water maintenance parameters such as pH. If they had gone with a salt system to produce chlorine they would have had a much greater acid use then with bromine becasue bromine is active over a wider ph range. The biggest drawback is that bromine cannot be stabilzied against sunlight so their generating equipment needs to run more often ande the cells do wear out quickly. If I am not mistaken bromine generators use carbon electrodes.)
    Aquasmart is a water purifier so does not sanitize the water and is described here
    This is a passive device much like a Nature2 or Frogger and is most likely based on copper sulfate and/or silver nitrate! Hardly chemical free! They do say on their website that chlorine or non chlorine shock is still needed! (In actual practice devices such as this need to be used with at least 2 ppm Free chlorine to maintain santized water in a pool!)

    while Superior Aqua Systems Healthcare systems is a metal ion (silver, copper) system and is described here. Silver will kill pathogens slowly so prevent uncontrolled growth, but are not fast enough to prevent person-to-person transmission (or bird poop to person transmission, etc.).
    This is a standard electrio ionizer that puts metals in the water, once again hardly chemical free. Last time I checked metals were chemicals! There are drawbacks such as the staining issues (copper is what causes green hair, period!!!!) and the fact that metal ions are slow acting and in a pool you need a fast acting residual sanitizer such as clorine present!)
    You can read more about alternative sanitizers in waterbear's Sticky here.

    Is there a particular concern you have about chlorine?

    Richard
    Please read my sticky on 'chemical free' pools!!! copper and silver are chemicals and are not the best way to sanize water. Bromine IS an EPA approved sanitizer and does have some advantages in certain situations but has several disadvantages also.
    If you have any other questions please ask.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    I can only imagine the drawbacks to using Chlorine would simply be from having to handle it...?

    Basically adding a SWG to your pool would make more sense to me than trying to fight the battle without using Chlorine. You wouldn't need to handle Chlorine then and you still get the benefits that only Chlorine can give.

    We've been using Chlorine for hundreds, maybe thousands of years to sanitize water. I don't see that stopping any time soon either.
    I also wouldn't give you a dime for all the Baq. on the planet.

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Thanks so much for all of the info. The reason I am interested is that I have a son with Neurological issues and I am very involved in with lots of parent with special needs kids. there is a lot of info floating around about all kinds of toxic stuff that does affect these kids. I have a pool and have loved the BBB method and this very helpful website, but I have had lots of ? whenever the chlorine issue comes up so I knew you guys would have lots of info!!
    Here is one example of the articles that I come across, but I can already see the lack of info in it--- like " a saline pool is better than Chlorine". just thought you may want to see it.
    For me, I love the pool and love the BBB method, I may look into a salt water system too!! Thanks for all the great help you all give!


    Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.
    A review of medical literature about
    chlorinated pool water.

    By: Stan Kurtz, 5.16.06

    He stood anxiously with his little toes dangling over the water. Even more anxious were his parents who empathetically stopped breathing as he took his first leap in the pool. After what felt much longer than a few seconds, his head popped up and he was dog paddling. His parents quickly glanced at each other, exhaled, and began to relax -- but should they?

    Most people know that swimming is a wonderful activity for children that provides aerobic exercise, sensory stimulation, social interaction, and safety skills. Lesser known is the toxic risks of swimming in chlorinated pools.

    In 1986, the risks of chlorine in swimming pools began to illuminate. In the article, “Erosion of dental enamel among competitive swimmers at a gas-chlorinated swimming pool,” it was noted that improper management of pH balance in a chlorinated pool could cause, “swimmer’s erosion,” to teeth. (PMID: 3953542) We often see people put chlorine in the pool, but how about the baking soda? Many children with autism and some children with chronic illness already have a challenged pH balance.

    In 1987, The Journal of Pediatrics published the article, “Chlorine inhalation toxicity from vapors generated by swimming pool chlorinator tablets.” This article documented two cases of serious respiratory injury after brief exposure to vapor from solid chlorine compounds. It suggested that physicians caring for children include warnings about these preparations in their routine counseling of parents. (PMID: 3822645)

    In 1994, the Institute of Environmental Studies in The Netherlands conducted a pilot study addressing chronic exposure to chlorination products in swimming pools. Detectable levels of chloroform was found in blood samples of competitive swimmers using indoor pools, but not in outdoor pools. That said, indoor swimmers had raised beta-2-mcroglbulin, and indicator of renal damage. These signs of kidney issues were significantly raised in younger indoor swimmers. (PMID: 7911264)

    In 1996, reports began to appear about the high prevalence of bronchial hyperresponsiveness and asthma-like symptoms in swimmers according to an article published in the Medical Science Sports Exercise Journal and further investigation was suggested. (PMID: 8775165)

    In Barcelona, Spain, allergy and asthma were reported in elite summer sports athletes in an article in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in September of 2000 (PMID: 10984362). The article mentioned that competitive swimmers inhale and microaspirate large amounts of chlorine derivatives from swimming pool disinfectants and that 36-79% of Olympic swimmers showed bronchial hyperresponsiveness to methacholine or histamine. (PMID: 10984362)

    In 2002, a report about was published by the Department of Respiratory Medicine in Birmingham, UK, about occupational asthma in three workers who were exposed to vapor from an indoor chlorinated swimming pool. The workers had not even entered the water. (PMID: 12030720) That same year, a report was published of a chlorine vapor accident at a recreational center in Rome. In a short exposure to high levels of chlorine products, 71.6% of children the 82 children tested had presented with acute respiratory symptoms. (PMID: 12524934)

    In a swimming pool in Seattle in 2004, a previously healthy 23 year old was hospitalized after chlorine gas exposure at a fitness center swimming pool. 36 hours later he developed worsening dyspnea and cough and blood-tinged sputum. A chest radiograph demonstrated diffuse tiny nodular opacities and he was later diagnosed with diffuse bronchiolitiis. It was said to be an uncommon case, but it took 5 months for this young man to clinically recover. (PMID: 14982650)

    The simple conclusion of a 2006 Canadian study published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health was, “Swimmers exposed to chlorination by-products in both the water and air of indoor swimming pools experience frequent respiratory symptoms that could potentially be reduced by limiting exposure to these products.” (PMID: 16586082)

    In April of 2006 an article was published in Pediatric Emergency Care that started by saying, “Chlorine is a potential respiratory hazard in both occupational and household settings.” It went on to discuss a case where a 9 year old girl developed a pneumonia, hypoxemia, and dyspnea 12 hours after an exposure to chlorine from aerosolized swimming pool purification tablets. Her recovery took four months. (PMID: 16651917)

    Summary: Swimming is a wonderful activity and it also provides important safety skills for our children, particularly special needs children due to a seemingly increased rate of drowning (McCandless, 2006). The medical literature seems to suggest that acute or chronic exposure to chlorine products and byproducts can be hazardous.

    Since many of our children are already toxic in one way or another, exposure to chlorine might be additionally challenging for them.

    If your child is going to be exposed to chlorine, Dr. Sidney Baker has suggested using Taurine prior to the exposure, and Dr. Jacquelyn McCandless has suggested magnesium sulfate cream (Kirkman makes it or you can have a compound pharmacy make it) and apply about a half-teaspoon after showering off the pool water.

    If you have a choice between indoor or outdoor chlorinated pools, it seems while both create a chlorine and chlorine vapor exposure, that outdoor pools may be a bit safer because of better ventilation.

    Chlorine is also a product of bath water, and a half-cup to a cup of Epson salts in the bathtub may help prevent toxicity. Epson salts are also a good magnesium supplement. Magnesium does many wonderful things including helping to process calcium and iron, as well as keeping your child’s bowel movements regular.

    With safer, more natural methods of disinfecting pool water available today, chlorine exposure may be needless. A preferred defense is to remove chlorine from your pool system and replace it with a saline system.
    35000 in ground vinyl liner with cartridge filter
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  8. Back To Top    #8
    Ok, admittedly, I did not read all of that, and I understand the need to protect your children as best you can.

    A preferred defense is to remove chlorine from your pool system and replace it with a saline system.
    a saline system, also know as SWG or SWCG (for Salt-Water Chlorine Generator, the piece of equipment that actually does the work) is simply another method of CHLORINATING a pool.

    But I believe there is more chlorine in most drinking (tap) water than in a properly maintained pool. One of the chem guys can either corroborate or correct this statement!

    ETA oops! I see you were posting this as BAD information... that is what I get for not reading it thoroughly!

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  9. Back To Top    #9

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    I saw some of his site one night while surfing the internet.

    http://www.stankurtz.com/biomedical/chl ... eview.html




    I guess I just don't understand. It's way above my level.
    Hotrod30

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  10. Back To Top    #10

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    But I believe there is more chlorine in most drinking (tap) water than in a properly maintained pool. One of the chem guys can either corroborate or correct this statement!

    ETA oops! I see you were posting this as BAD information... that is what I get for not reading it thoroughly!
    Yep, it was BAD info, I guess I should have put that in big letters, Sorry.

    Does a properly maintained pool have less chlorine than drinking water????? That would be great info to have and very easy to understand. So chem guys, How does it compare?
    Thanks
    35000 in ground vinyl liner with cartridge filter
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  11. Back To Top    #11
    Most water supplies permit up to 4 ppm of chlorine in drinking water. This is the EPA limit. However, in reality, many water supplies only have about 1 ppm or even less in the water at the tap. My water typically has about .75 ppm in it. Therefore, while it is possible to be drinking water with more chlorine than the pool water, it is unlikely unless you let your pool water chlorine get dangerously low.
    19,000 vinyl pool, solar heat, .75 hp tristar, 48 sq ft de filter

  12. Back To Top    #12
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Nearly every one of those "problems" were in pools with extreme chemical imbalance. Use a car that improperly and see how much damage you can cause!

    It is quite possible to run a pool with less chlorine than tap water, but mostly we recommend using somewhat more chlorine than tap water. The levels are in the same general range as tap water, less than double. However, given the CYA level, the effective concentration of active chlorine is far lower than in tap water.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  13. Back To Top    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    The Disney World system is described here and it is essentially a bromine system that uses electrolysis to convert bromide to bromine (similar to a regular saltwater chlorine generator pool that converts chloride to chlorine).

    It's ironic that they claim that "chlorine and chlorine products are a main source of allergies associated with swimming pools" because more people are actually sensitive to bromine than to chlorine. It is true that an improperly maintained chlorine pool can have disinfection by-products that smell or are irritating, but a properly maintained chlorine pool has no such problems. In fact, a chlorine pool with Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in it is far less harsh than a bromine system, even though bromine is a weaker oxidizer at equivalent concentration (the key being that chlorine's effective concentration is very, very low in a properly maintained pool).

    Aquasmart is a water purifier so does not sanitize the water and is described here while Superior Aqua Systems Healthcare systems is a metal ion (silver, copper) system and is described here. Silver will kill pathogens slowly so prevent uncontrolled growth, but are not fast enough to prevent person-to-person transmission (or bird poop to person transmission, etc.).

    You can read more about alternative sanitizers in waterbear's Sticky here.

    Is there a particular concern you have about chlorine?

    Richard

    Great response but I'll add one item. The Bromitron system was recalled a few years back and all units were pulled from the market. Many of the units in the field were replaced at their expense with Autopilots if I recall correctly. There was a major concern by one of Bromitron's major backers (Albemarle) about the potential for accidental Bromate production in pools. As far as I know Bromitron has never re-entered the market.

    I'm not sure what Disney is using today but even when they had some Bromitron's in use they were major users of chlorine as well. Disney's just a big name for manufacturer's to throw around but they rarely use all one system for all bodies of water.
    21' Leslies Beachland Ag Pool, 10,000 gallons, professionally installed (best money I ever spent) Hayward 16" sand filter w/Pentair two speed pump Fafco 4x20 solar heater,Aqua Trol RJ. Borates added. Hard plumbed.

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Just curious, since lots of the "scientific" studies were in Northern climates, weren't they specifically finding problems in breathing the air around indoor pools? Now, that makes me cough too!
    Salinda
    owner of ~37,000 gallon plaster IG pool/spa combo. Intelliflo VS+ filter pump, 2 hp whisperflo spa jet pump, Jandy Aqualink RS-6 with iAqualink upgrade, The Pool Cleaner 4x suction cleaner, Clean & Clear Plus 520 cartridge filter, Zodiac Clearwater LM2-40 SWG, Sta-rite 400k heater, solar heat pads and coils, Solar-Breeze NX.

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Carolynn,

    Every single one of the cases mentioned in your post with the information from the Stan Kurtz website is with indoor pools that do not use Cyanuric Acid (CYA) (except the dental case which was extremely low pH). In fact, I have not found one case of asthma, respiratory illness or occular problems in pools that use CYA except for two types of situtations -- one with major chemical imbalance, usually of pH, and the other where way too much CYA was used (>> 100 ppm) in indoor pools (usually hotels, since most indoor pools don't use CYA). Many of the situations listed in your post were with overloaded bather loads and low pH which along with a lack of CYA promotes production of nitrogen trichloride that is very irritating.

    By using CYA in your pool, you are reducing the amount of effective chlorine by orders of magnitude -- 10-30 times lower -- than found in pools without CYA. The rate of production of disinfection by-products is 10-30 times slower and the end result amount of nitrogen trichlorde (even giving it more time to get produced) is 10-30 times lower.

    My wife swims in an indoor pool at a community center over the winter and unfortunately it has chlorine with no CYA in the water (as is typical for most indoor pools). Her swimsuits degrade (elasticity gets shot; some fading) every winter season after even less than 5 months of use, while in our own outdoor pool with CYA, identical branded swimsuits have lasted 5 summer seasons of 7 months each with minimal degradation. The difference, I believe, is due to the fact that the indoor pool effectively has 20 times the chlorine level of our outdoor pool (the indoor pool has 2 ppm FC with no CYA compared to our outdoor pool with 3.5 ppm FC and 30 ppm CYA).

    By following the best guess charts of Ben or myself, you will be minimizing your exposure to chlorine. The "target" column is technically equivalent to only 0.1 ppm FC with no CYA. This is a very low amount of chlorine.

    I have written to Stan Kurtz about this and we'll see what he has to say (if anything -- usually I don't get responses though Dr. Weill's website did thank me, but now I can't find my post anymore and he didn't change his recommendations). [EDIT] Stan wrote back and thanked me for the info and wished me luck with my efforts to get standards updated. He may update his comments if he gets his head above water -- it sounded like he's very busy. [END-EDIT]

    Richard
    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"

  16. Back To Top    #16
    As always, spot on replies.

    The resistance of the ill-informed to a chlorine sanitized pool, never ceases to amaze me. We have an SAFE, abundant, efficient and inexpensive source of pool sanitization and people look for reasons not to use it. Amazing.

    I am in the medical field and we use bleach as our first choice for sanitizing appropriate surfaces. The comment in the link about "natural sources" made me laugh. What is natural about keeping 25000 gal of water in a closed system and regularly introducing bacteria, viruses, algae and animals on a routine basis? I find it completely amazing that everything works as well as it does.

    My pool last year required only some borate and CYA at the beginning and a few minor pH adjustment (to make me feel important) and a 1/3 gal of bleach every day or so. Thats it. Simple.

    Knowing what I know...every other pool scares me...E. coli...Staph. aureus, Pseudomonas....etc...

    I am new to here...long time lurker and occasional poster on TPF under adesalvo
    25,000 gal IG Utopia pool/Raypack gas heater/BBB

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