Alternative sanitizers and "chemical free" pools--The Truth!

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
Re: Alternative sanitizers and "chemical free" pools--The Tr

To sum up, both UV and hydrogen peroxide are effective oxidizers. But neither one leaves any residual sanitizer in the bulk pool water. Oxidizers break down organic waste, but it takes a sanitizer to kill pathogens.
 

codybear

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 15, 2011
12
North Suburb, Chicago, IL
Re: Alternative sanitizers and "chemical free" pools--The Tr

I happen to be browsing around and looking at a swim spa that I never heard of and they claim to use a chlorine free system: Third Paragraph.

But Spectra Light UV Disadvantages of Hydrogen Peroxide use in Swimming Pools & Choosing Hydrogen Peroxide or Chlorine doesn't recommend hydrogen peroxide if given a choice.

Fortunately, a Diamond Spa user can just change over to chlorine and the installed UV can be used to get rid of the chloramines.
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,083
San Rafael, CA USA
Re: Alternative sanitizers and "chemical free" pools--The Tr

In the original Could Chlorine in your Pool be Affecting your Skin article you referred to it states:

The typical Chlorine level a pool or spa owner maintains is 1000% the level the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) deems safe.

If Chlorine can shorten the life of your pool or spa components (regardless of composition) just think of what it’s doing to your body.

Chlorine contains carcinogens (cancer causing agents) such as bromoforms carbon tectachloride and bischlorothane. Chlorine can combine with organic matter forming trihalomethanes. External exposure to Chlorine can cause your skin to prematurely age and has been known to cause acne, eczema, melanoma,and psoriasis. Breathing the chemical can damage lung tissue. Chemical contact to the eye can cause blindness.
Why can't people just tell the truth and instead have to lie so blatantly (to be clear, I'm referring to the article, not the poster). As shown in the EPA list of Drinking Water Contaminants, the EPA drinking water limit for chlorine is 4 ppm. 1000% is 10 times so they are claiming that the typical chlorine level in a pool or spa is 40 ppm. Also, the drinking water limit presumes 2 quarts of water consumed every day for a lifetime.

As for shortening the life or pool or spa components and causing skin to prematurely age, how is it that an even more powerful oxidizer hydrogen peroxide is going to avoid this? Now one does have to be careful when characterizing an oxidizer as stronger. It isn't just about thermodynamics, but specific reaction rates. While having hydrogen peroxide break down in UV forms hydroxyl radicals, which by the way is what happens with chlorine as well, hydrogen peroxide doesn't seem to oxidize urea very well and instead has been used to form hydrogen peroxide urea adduct. Also, ammonia and hydrogen peroxide mixtures are used for cleaning so hydrogen peroxide does not quickly oxidize ammonia either. So perhaps someone can tell me what bather contaminants hydrogen peroxide in fact does oxidize (without help from UV to form hydroxyl radicals)? The scientific article Mode of action of hydrogen peroxide... indicates that hydrogen peroxide is effective at oxidizing amino acids and related compounds (e.g. proteins, DNA). Chlorine also reacts quickly with many amino acids. As for skin, hydrogen peroxide produces oxidative stress very similar to chlorine.

The only real truth in that article is that chlorine forms disinfection by-products though does not itself "contain carcinogens" (it is some of the disinfection by-products that are carcinogenic) while hydrogen peroxide does not form such by-products.