Given the amount of alternatives that exist today to keep the water in our swimming pool safe, it seems that we do nothing but discredit the chlorine.
Bromine and salt electrolysis, depending on the context, are two options that we can not think of doing without, but we must give some credit to the power that continues to hold, our lifelong friend, the chlorine.
Thousands of pools are about to retire their decks to receive the summer. Whenever we think of summer, extravagant colored towels and dripping bathing suits come to mind, but we never remember the invisible forms of life living in this environment that can harm our health.
To prevent the swimming pools from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria, experts have been relying on the power of chlorine for a long time.
Since its standardization in the use of water treatment at the beginning of the last century, chlorine, given its broad spectrum of pathogen eradication, has been our main ally in keeping at bay all the diseases that a pool can transport.
The disinfecting power of chlorine
Chlorine, regardless of the format in which we acquire it, generates hypochlorous acid when contacting the water; a light but very competent acid that kills viruses and bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli.
This is due to the neutral electrical charge that this acid possesses, immune to the negative charges of the cell walls of the bacteria that repel any other negative charge they find in the water.
By not being positively or negatively charged, hypochlorous acid can cross the cell walls of pathogens to exterminate them. Once inside the bacteria, the hypochlorous acid attacks the proteins causing havoc in their structure until the functionality of these deteriorates and the cells begin to die.
Against viruses, the method of action of chlorine is different, but it is known to neutralize influenza and other viral pathologies.
We must be careful with certain protozoa as the one that causes diarrhea, because they can be more armored against chlorine. In these cases, the solution is as simple as banning people with diarrhea from entering the pool, especially if they are children.
Remember that for chlorine to be effective we must maintain a favorable pH range. This is, from 7.2 to 7.6.
Chlorine as a scapegoat
How many times has chlorine been blamed for the redness of the eyes, the dryness of the skin, or simply by the suffocating smell some large indoor pools have?
It is true that chloramines derived from chlorine are the cause of all these problems. But the real culprit is the people who come in contact with the water, and their personal hygiene. The chloramines are released when the sweat, urine and faecal matter of bathers come into play.
The solution? Place a shower at the foot of the pool. This way your guests will not have an excuse to not sanitize themselves before entering the water and leave out any microscopic life that no one has invited to the party.
In conclusion, chlorine is a chemical that when used correctly can be a great ally. Many gardeners even use it to water their plants and thus eliminate bacteria and larvae from unwanted insects.
If your pool starts to have the strong smell of chloramines, it is time to restore the chemical balance of the water and to demand greater hygiene for your guests.