How unhealthy is your swimming pool?

09 March 2018

And what about all those chemicals? Aren't they bad for our health? The above are some frequently asked questions. In this blog post, we will illustrate how to keep your pool perfectly clean and fresh.

How do pool maintenance products affect your health?

A swimming pool requires maintenance. To keep the water clear and healthy, you should check the pH level and use disinfectants against bacteria. The following general rule applies:  The more often you check and adjust this value, the fewer products you need.

These products are in themselves not bad for your health, as long as they are dosed correctly in the swimming pool. That's why we recommend that you measure the water quality at least once, and preferably 2 to 3 times a week.

The target values are as follows:

  • pH level between 7.2 and 7.6
  • Chlorine value of around 1 mg/l

It is safe to swim as long as the following values are not exceeded:

  • pH level between 6.5 and 7.8
  • Maximum chlorine value of 3.5 mg/l

What are the consequences of bad values:

  • Too high or too low a pH: red eyes, dry skin, premature wear of swimwear
  • Too high a chlorine value: stinging, red eyes
Testkit waterkwaliteit

The more the value deviates from the ideal value, the more serious the consequences can be.

Chlorine is often used for disinfection. Also alternative disinfection methods, such as salt electrolysis, will eventually produce chlorine. The ideal chlorine value for a private outdoor swimming pool is around 1 mg/l. This is such a negligible amount that it will not have the slightest effect on your health. Only a value that is much too high (e.g. greater than 3.5 mg/l) can lead to problems caused by chlorine.

These start with the typical irritation of the eyes (red stinging eyes). This reaction is caused not by the chlorine, but by the substance that is released when chlorine reacts with the dirt particles in the pool (sweat, hair, dirt, etc.). That is why we advise you to shower before swimming. 

Are algae harmful?

Algae in the pool are a common complaint, mainly because they look unsightly. However, algae do not cause any diseases. Algae in the pool are not a reason to stop swimming.

You will, however, need more products to disinfect the pool. Because, of course, you want to get rid of these algae, and to do this you need chlorine. Algae in the water will cause the chlorine content to drop more quickly.  This will adversely affect the water quality. If left untreated, algae will cause the water to look cloudy and green. The result is an unpleasant smell. You do not want to swim in such a pool. 

Luckily, we have the solution to get rid of green pool water!

What about urine in the swimming pool?

Peeing in water is more common than we would like and we cannot vouch for the hygiene standards of other swimmers. Therefore, when you accidentally swallow a gulp of water during swimming, it will not be 100% clean water.

Scientists have calculated that a swimmer ingests about 20 nanolitres of urine each time they swallow a gulp of pool water. This is a very small amount and therefore completely negligible. Moreover, urine contains very little that his harmful to the human body. It could therefore be concluded that it is no problem at all.

The answer, however, is slightly more complex. The urine in the pool water, in fact, chemically reacts with the chlorine to form cyanogen chloride. This substance is actually toxic. It can cause health problems such as skin and eye irritation and nausea when an amount of 3.5 mg is ingested at a time.

Luckily, the concentration in swimming pools is much lower, about 2.5 picograms per litre. This means that unless you drink the entire pool, you should be fine. The thought alone is not attractive, but urine in your pool as such will not leave you with health problems.

Chloortablet

Green hair from swimming?

Every now and then we receive a question from someone who has issues with green hair. While the chlorine in the water is often designated as the culprit, the discolouration is actually caused by oxidised metals in the water.

However, chlorine and dyed hairs may accelerate the process. Chlorine and some hair dyes make your hair fragile and porous, causing it to more easily absorb other chemical substances that cause the discolourations.

If you want to avoid green hair, you must address the metals in your pool. Details about controlling these metals are given on this page.

You can, however, protect your hair during swimming. We recommend that you rinse your hair thoroughly and use a conditioner. This will hydrate your hair and help it to absorb less chlorine. Another simple method is to use a tight-fitting bathing cap.

How does swimming affect your body and mind?

Luckily, swimming has a highly positive effect on your body. First, of course, is the improvement in fitness that can be achieved by swimming regularly.

In addition, swimming gives you a relaxing feeling, allowing your body to deal with stress better.

This will in turn positively affect your sleep. The fatigue of swimming and the relaxed feeling will help you sleep significantly better.

Finally, having your own pool means that friends and family will visit you more often. They will all want to come and take a dive in your pool. This social contact benefits everyone and makes you feel better about yourself.

Zwembadplezier

Conclusion: swimming is not unhealthy at all!

A swimming pool is anything but an unhealthy environment, provided you properly maintain it. It all begins with regularly testing the water quality.

Is your swimming pool properly maintained? Then you can fully enjoy the benefits that swimming brings: an improved physical condition, a relaxed feeling, a better sleep, and more social contact.