It’s common for the swimmers to get irritation or redness in the eyes, above all, in the case of children, who are those spending the most time splashing each other.
This redness to the eyes was always associated with the use of chlorine in the water of swimming pools. However, after a study done by the team of Michael Beach, deputy director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, is not what we thought. Actually, it is due to chloramines.
What’s the Cause of the Itching of the Eyes?
Maintaining the swimming pool in optimal conditions is essential. Two parameters, pH and chlorine, have to be measured continuously.
The pH of the water measures the level of acidity. A normal level of pH is located between the values of 7.2 and 7.6. If the pH value is outside of these values, we have to adjust it using reducers or increasers.
Chlorine is a disinfectant and oxidising agent that quickly destroys germs, fungi, bacteria and various microorganisms. It is the most used product for the care of the pool due to its price, ease and comfort of use to protect our health.
On the one hand, there is free chlorine, which has the disinfectant power whose values have to be between 0.4 mg and 1.2 mg/l as long as the pH of the swimming pool is neutral.
On the other hand, the residual or combined chlorine, also known as chloramines, is that part that merges the polluted substances in the swimming pool water, such as sweat, sunscreen, hair and mainly urine.
The chloramines impacts our health by their effect on the mucous membranes, and can irritate the eyes, nose, pharynx and respiratory tract, and give off a strong odour.
How to Eliminate Chloramines from the Swimming Pool?
To eliminate chloramines and red eyes, the first thing to do is analyse the pH, and correct it if it is not optimal. The effectiveness of chlorine is affected by the level of acidity.
The treatment of water with this oxidant is not effective if the pH level is not adjusted. The room temperature and temperature of the pool also influence its disinfectant capacity. The higher the temperature, the more it evaporates.
Once we have the pH regulated, one of the methods that we can apply is the shock chlorination, essential at the beginning of the season for the set-up, or when the use of the pool is very intensive and chloramines are generated.
In the shock chlorination, a greater amount of chlorine than usual is used to disinfect. This way, a complete disinfection is achieved quickly and instantaneously.
For the shock chlorination treatment, input the necessary dose in the skimmer and start filtering. You can also pour the dose directly into the pool. Two hours after the treatment analyse the pH again.
An alternative method for this maintenance is active oxygen, a natural product without toxic substances. The active oxygen acts to keep the pool clean of bacteria and microorganisms without the need to use chlorine. The active oxygen does not cause irritations or give off strong odours when it is united with corporal substances (hair, creams, urine).
However, active oxygen has some disadvantage since by itself it does not have a great disinfectant capacity, but it can be used regularly to prevent the formation of chloramines. It is a more expensive product, which means a higher maintenance cost.
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