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Bromines and their Associated Disinfectant By-Products (DBP’s)


Just like Chlorine, Bromine is used as a sanitiser for recreational water, typically when the water temperature is in excess of 35°C, where such high temperatures would usually degrade chlorine quite rapidly, leaving swimmers susceptible to infection(s). For this reason, Bromine is a common choice of sanitiser for spas.

Bromine reacts with water (H20) to form Hypobromous Acid and Hypobromite Ion (commonly known as Free Bromine), but unlike Free Chlorine, both forms of Free Bromine are strong oxidising agents.

Swimmers release both organic waste, which may include sweat, urine, faecal matter, hair, skin and inorganic waste products, such as sunscreen, makeup, deodorants, and creams during the course of their time in the water.

Chlorine reacts with this various waste matter in the water to form Chloramines, similarly, Bromine also reacts in the same manner to form Bromomines. Bromine and Bromide present in water have the ability to form the Brominated Disinfectant By-Products (DBPs) below:
• Bromoform

• dibromoacetic acid;
• tribromoacetic acid;
• bromoacetic acid;
• bromochloroacetic acid;
• bromodichloroacetic acid
• dibromochloroacetic acid;
• dibromoacetonitrile;
• 2-bromo-2-methylpropanal;
• 2,3,5-tribromopyrrole;
• bromoacetone;
• bromoalkanes;
• bromohydrins; and
• brominated trihalomethanes (including bromodichloromethane, chlorodibromomethane,
and tribromomethane (bromoform)).

The three various ways in which swimmers’ uptake DBP’s include ingestion, absorption and inhalation. However, inhalation of DBP’s can occur to persons not swimming but rather in the surrounding areas of the water. This could include lifeguards, office staff, maintenance staff, parents onlooking, etc.
“Several brominated DBPs have been shown in animal studies to be more carcinogenic than their chlorinated analogs” (Richardson, 2003a).

“Symptoms of acute bromine toxicity via the inhalation route include respiratory irritation/distress and central nervous system effects (all dependant on concentration). Bromine is highly irritating to the skin in both liquid and vapour form, with appearance of injury in the form of often delayed blister formation. Ocular irritation following exposure to bromine vapour is reported. Although rare, ingestion of liquid bromine is associated with haemorrhagic nephritis, with oliguria or anuria, developing within 1 to 2 days.

Where comparisons can be made, the findings from human studies are supported by those from animal studies. The acute toxicity of bromide is considered to be very low”(WHO 2018).

There is currently no regulatory levels or required monitoring of DBP’s here in Australia, but perhaps given the research available and its findings, there really should be for protecting the health of the public.

Written by John Morrison Bsc


World Health organisation (WHO). 2018. Bromine as a drinking – water disinfectant.

Richardson S (2003a). Disinfection by-products and other emerging contaminants in drinking water.

RAA Carter Oz Water. 2015. Disinfection By-products: Not just an issue for drinking water, but also potentially for swimming pool waters. An analysis of three indoor pubic swimming pools and one heated indoor spa in Western Australia.


Accommodation – What are the signs of unhealthy water quality?


Now COVID restrictions have eased across Australia, there has been a real push to support the tourism industry. If you find yourself searching late at night for the best holiday destination and frantically locking in a 50% discounted flight deal, chances are you’ve caught the travel bug!


It’s pretty safe to say, that’s a bug most of us are happy to catch. However, chances are that’s not the only thing you can catch on that long-awaited trip away.


Some travellers either knowingly or not, have packed more than just the makeup bag and swimming trunks. Parasites, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens can also hitchhike their way to the swimming pool of your destination.


The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported 493 recreational waterborne disease outbreaks were reported from 2000-2014- causing at least 27,219 illnesses and eight deaths.


Almost a third of those were traced to hotel swimming pools or hot tubs.


The major cause was by Cryptosporidium, a chlorine-resistant parasite. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach cramps.


Legionella and Pseudomonas were also responsible for reported outbreaks. Legionella is a type of bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. It results in flu-like symptoms and puts people at risk of severe pneumonia.


Pseudomonas is a common bacterium that can causehot tub rash” and “swimmer’s ear.”


So, who is at risk?

The answer is everyone, though there are those who are more susceptible than others. These include the elderly, pregnant women and children, all of which have weaker immune systems and therefore more likely to fall ill with infection.


What are the signs that the pool water quality is unhealthy?

As the water pathogens reported are all microscopic (not able to be seen with the naked eye), you won’t see them in and around the pool.


Most people look at a pool and see clear water and that is their indicator of ‘healthy water’. In fact, all that indicates is the clarity of the water.  It’s what you don’t see is what you should really be concerned about. Is it there? Or is it not there?


Another common mistake is thinking that the pool is safe if you smell ‘Chlorine’! Pure chlorine, that is used to sanitise pools has no smell. The ‘chlorine’ smell occurs when pure chlorine added to the pool combines with foreign matter (waste products), such as oils, body cells, hair cells, urine, fecal matter, sunscreen and much more. The resulting products are called chlorine by products.


One chlorine by product produced is called Trihalomethane gas. A gas so corrosive that it results in steel structures surrounding the pool rusting. So, you can only imagine what damage it does to our respiratory system. This is the ‘chlorine’ smell that is often identified be swimmers, either in the air, on the skin and hair or on the bikini and board shorts when you get home. You don’t have to be swimming to fall victim to illness, just simply present by the surrounds of the pool inhaling the gas.


So how do we really ensure that the water is healthy to swim in?

Well, firstly, if you smell ‘Chlorine’, turn around, head for reception and demand to know what Secondary sanitation equipment is being used to destroy these nasty water pathogens and chlorine byproducts. If the answer is “we only use chlorine”, know that chlorine as a sanitiser alone will not remove chlorine byproducts, they simply build up in concentration and as such cause more of a concern to the health of guests.


The answer you’re looking for is “we have secondary sanitation equipped to our pool/spa”. These are the following options of secondary sanitation system options available:

  • Ultraviolet light (UV)
  • Ozone gas
  • Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP), a combination of 1 & 2 above producing Hydroxyl Radicals, the most effective oxidizer of waste products and chlorine byproducts known in water chemistry.


These secondary sanitation systems also treat the water pathogens, such as Cryptosporidium (chlorine resistant).


Also know that according to CDC, chlorine alone is limited to the following kill times:

 Free Available Chlorine Germ-Killing Timetable
E. coli 0157:H7 (Bacterium) less than 1 minute
Hepatitis A (Virus) approximately 16 minutes
Giardia (Parasite) approximately 45 minutes
Cryptosporidium (Parasite) approximately 15,300 minutes (10.6 days)



  • Times based on 1 ppm free chlorine at pH 7.5 and 77°F (25°C)
  • These disinfection times are only for pools and hot tubs/spas that do not use cyanuric acid. Disinfection times are longer in the presence of cyanuric acid.

CDC, May 4, 2016.


Written by John Morrison BSc




Hospital Hydrotherapy- Pregnancy, pain and anxiety


Hydrotherapy is a very popular form of exercise for the mature population as well as for rehabilitation of patients experiencing a wide range of injuries as well as those who find land-based exercise too intensive for their body or even for women during pregnancy.


The research is endless for the benefits of water-based physiotherapy!


In this current COVID-19 pandemic, we are all experiencing varying levels of anxiety and searching for ways of best managing it. Can Hydrotherapy play a role?


Woman all over the world that are pregnant and expecting a newborn baby are experiencing the affects of isolation and general uncertainty. Research has shown that hydrotherapy can promote relaxation and decrease parturient anxiety and pain in labor. In fact, research showed that not only anxiety decreased but as did vasopressin (V) and oxytocin (O) levels at the 15-minute and 45-minute time period of immersion in the water.


Pregnant women in their third trimester participating in WATSU (Water Shiatsu), which encompasses passive stretches and massage techniques administered in 35oC warm water, also found a reduction in personal stress, fatigue and pain, improving their quality of life and mood.

Hydrotherapy is often used as a safe, nonpharmacological alternative method to assist women during pregnancy and labor.


Why not search for your nearest Hydrotherapy pool on


Written by: John Morrison BSc.



• Rebecca D. Benfield, et al. The Effects of Hydrotherapy on Anxiety, Pain, Neuroendocrine Responses, and Contraction Dynamic During Labor. Sage Journals. Biological Research for Nursing. May 7, 2010.

• Agnes M. Schitter. Integrative Gynecology and Women’s Health. Effects of Passive WATSU (WaterShiatsu) in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy: Results of a Controlled piolet Study. 1 March, 2015.

• Marylin Stringer, et al. Hydrotherapy Use During Labor: An Integrative Review. Worldwide on Evidence-based Nursing presents the archives of Online Journal Knowledge Synthesis for Nursing. Sigma. 23 April, 2004.


COVID-19, in the Air & on the Surface


Critical new research by the National Institutes of Health (NIS) indicates that COVID-19, a strain of the Coronavirus, can survive in the air and on surfaces for extended periods of time.


The research found that the virus can survive for up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and 2 to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel.


In addition to contact, the transmission of this virus is also plausible through the air as it was identified that the virus can live in the air for 3 hours in an aerosolized form.


Recently, the use of face masks has become not only recommended but mandatory, such as the state of Vitoria in Australia, who is now facing the second wave of the virus, which is sweeping through the state like wildfire. Ensuring you have an approved and laboratory tested face mask will ensure the best protection. It’s also important to note that if you are not using disposable masks, where you regularly dispose of the used one and replace with a fresh hygienic new one, then it is relevant to know if the mask was manufactured to the correct certification specifications as well as how to correctly sanitise your reusable masks.


Vapor containing the virus can be introduced into the air by a simple sneeze, cough or simply speaking. Its for this reason that the use of a mask is a smart one! However, simply wearing a mask alone is not the key to eliminating the virus. Regular hand washing is also required to ensure that when you put the mask on and off, that there is no transfer of the virus from your hands to either your nose, mouth or the mask itself.


Relying on social distancing alone can be a concern when you take into account a person sneezing can transmit vapor from their mouth containing the virus and propel it up to 27 feet (8.2 meters) away at up to an astonishing one hundred miles an hour (160.9km/hr).


What other options do we have when dealing with the virus in the air?

Research shows that Ozone gas has been successful in treating the SARS-COV-1, a virus of the same family as COVID-19, the Coronavirus family, which led to the epidemic in 2003.


Ozone is also widely used in sterilizing equipment in hospitals against bacteria as well as purifying the bottled drinking water provided to their patients.


As discussed in a previous article, Viruses-deactivated & destroyed by secondary sanitation technology, COVID-19 is an enveloped virus containing RNA. Ozone can oxidise (destroy) the virus by breaking through its outer layer and damaging the RNA core, rendering it harmless to a potential host (us).


So, what do we know about Ozone gas and COVID-19? Research would suggest that exposure in to a sufficient dose over a given period of time, COVID-19 would be eliminated from open spaces as well as shadows and crevices in the air and surfaces in the treated environment.


Written by: John Morrison BSc




Swimming with Asthma


Is swimming a good activity for young Asthmatics?

It’s well documented that regular swimming activity can be great for those suffering with the medical condition known as Asthma.

“Asthma is a medical condition that affects the airways (the breathing tubes that carry air into our lungs). From time to time, people with asthma find it hard to breath in and out, because the airways to the lungs become narrower – like trying to breathe through a thin straw”.

This is a condition that I in fact suffered at a young age. I would randomly and uncontrollably cough and splutter, which left me gasping and struggling for air at times. This was especially so when my heart rate increased from participating in various types of exercise. And being an active kid who loved sports, this was an ongoing problem and a real handicap. I remember what an amazing feeling and relief it was to breath normally again, thanks to multiple puffs on my Ventolin inhaler.

Compared to other sports, swimming has been found to less likely trigger Asthma. The recumbent exercise of swimming can also produce a greater central blood flow than upright forms of exercise.

Some studies have shown that young asthmatics participating in regular swimming activities resulted in a decrease in the frequency of wheezing days, a decrease in the days needing medication, a decrease in emergency room visits, and an increase in school attendance.

Interestingly, in each of the Olympic Games between 1956 and 1972 there were gold medalists who had Asthma, which just shows not only can you enjoy the benefits of swimming with Asthma, but you can even excel in the sport.

But what if the water quality is poor?

Whether you suffer from Asthma or not, poor water quality can significantly affect your health but especially so for Asthmatics. Some studies suggest that healthy children can have their lung epithelium damaged and promote the development of Asthma as a result of swimming in poor water quality of both indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

What issues with poor water quality should you be concerned about?

Nitrogen trichloride (Trichloramine) is a disinfection byproduct (DBP) produced when chlorine, commonly used as a sanitiser in pools, reacts with urea (ammonia product), which comes from sweat and urine constantly released by swimmers. This chlorine byproduct can cause irritation of a swimmer’s airway, especially if already suffering with Asthma, as well as irritate the eyes.

Haloacetic acids (HAA’s), another DBP formed when chlorine reacts with organic products released by swimmers. Some HAA’s are considered ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

Are the benefits of the swimming activity outweighed by other risks to one’s health?

It’s no doubt that swimming is a good physical activity for Asthmatics, but only if the water quality is healthy via the correct methods of water treatment that remove not only dissolved chlorine disinfectant byproducts (DBP) but also the gasses too. Such treatment methods include Ozone and Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP).

Written by: John Morrison BSc



Mineral Pools, are they chlorine free?


Mineral Pools, are they chlorine free?

With the craze of ‘mineral’ pools that has hit the pool industry over the last 5 or so years, its important to understand how it all works.

Let’s start with where it all began, the backyard salt (sodium salt) chlorinator. All you had to do was throw in bags of salt and walk away. Ahhhhh that salt water beach feeling! No more manually dosing the pool with chlorine sanitiser either.

Then came along the ‘Mineral’ salt (blends of salts and trace elements, magnesium + potassium + calcium + zinc + copper + iron) chlorinator. It’s driving force the ability of the minerals and trace elements to be dermally absorbed into the skin while swimming to alleviate muscle aches, bring oxygen to the body’s cells, alleviate eczema, relax the nervous system and even soften the water.

Sodium salts or magnesium salts alone are NOT a sanitiser! However, they are both used to make chlorine (sodium hypochlorite), which is a sanitiser.

So how do we make chlorine out of salts? Electrolysis!

The process involves passing salt water (which is a good electrical conductor) through what is called a ‘cell housing’, which houses a cell, made of a series of flat titanium plates coated with iridium and ruthenium and aligned parallel to each other in the cell housing. Electricity is applied to these titanium plates, which separates the chemical bonds of the salts (sodium chlorine/ magnesium chloride) and in the process creates chlorine gas (Cl2), hydrogen gas (h2) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH). The chlorine gas reacts with water (H2O) to form Sodium hypochlorite.

For the chlorinators to work they require specific levels (anywhere from 2500ppm up to 8500ppm) of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), which a big component of is achieved by the addition of salts. If there is not a sufficient level of TDS the chlorinator will not produce chlorine. If the level of TDS is too high the chlorinator will shut off in order to prevent overload on the cell.

Fresh water chlorination is a whole new kettle of fish! These systems run with very low TDS levels, as low as 1200ppm. They don’t require salt or minerals to be added to the water to produce chlorine, as typically once the pool is filled with water and balanced with chemicals (calcium, alkalinity, acid) the TDS level is sufficient for operation of the fresh water chlorinators to start producing chlorine.

It is a good time to note that a sanitiser level maintained by salt, mineral or fresh water chlorinators (2-4ppm) will not remove inorganic and organic waste products (food source for bacteria), nor destroy chlorine by-products (irritants to the skin and eyes) and does very little for chlorine resistant parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

Written by John Morrison BSc



Haloacetic Acids Disinfectant byproduct


Another set of chlorine disinfectant byproduct (DBPs)

Haloacetic acids (HAAs) are formed, along with other Trihalomethanes (THMs) and chlorate, when chlorine is used as a disinfectant in water, which in turn reacts with organic waste products, which are continually being contributed to the water (e.g. by swimmers), to form chlorine disinfectant byproducts (DBPs). This is the exact primary sanitation process that takes place at your local swimming pool.

There are 9 known HAAs, Australia regulates the first 5 of these 9 in drinking water. These levels are compared to that of the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggested levels below:



Health risk

1. Monochloroacetic acid (MCAA)



Group 3

2. Dichloroacetic acid (DCAA)



Group 2B

3. Trichloroacdetic acid (TCAA)



Group 2B

4. Monobromoacetic acid (MBAA)



Group 3

5. Dibromoacetic acid (DBAA)



Group 2B

6. Bromochloroacetic acid (BCAA) Group 2B
7. Bromodichloroacetic acid (BDCAA) <0.1ppm <0.5ppm Group 3
8. Dibromochloroacetic acid (DBCAA) Group 3
9. Tribromoacetic acid (TBAA) Group 3

Below are the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) category group explanations as per scientific studies conducted:

-The category Group 1 is labelled ‘Carcinogenic to humans.’

-The category Group 2A is labelled ‘Probably carcinogenic to humans.’

-The category Group 2B is labelled ‘Possibly carcinogenic to humans.’

-The category Group 3 is labeled ‘Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity.’

As a result of prolonged exposure to the above HAAs, Increased incidences of tumors in several organs including the liver and kidney, as well as effects to the male sperm and its production were identified in the experimental studies conducted on both rats and mice.

“There are no epidemiological studies of TCA carcinogenicity in humans. Most of the human health data for chlorinated acetic acids concern components of complex mixtures of water disinfectant byproducts. These complex mixtures of disinfectant byproducts have been associated with increased potential for bladder, rectal, and colon cancer in humans [reviewed by Boorman et al. (1999); Mills et al. (1998)].”

Trihalomethanes (THMs) are also regulated in Australia in drinking water, with the limit being <0.25ppm.

A question I am left with is: Why are HAAs and THMs regulated in Australia for drinking water, however they’re NOT regulated in Australia for the commercial pool industry?

Written by John Morrison BSc




Healthy or unhealthy workplace?


“Historically, the heaviest mass inhalational exposures to chlorine resulted from World War I gassing. Currently potential human exposure to chlorine inhalation occurs in a variety of settings in the workplace”. Today’s discussion is the indoor swimming pool!

You know that pungent “chlorine” smell that hits you in the face when you walk into the pool area, it also gets stuck to your skin/hair and swimmers, the sudden shortness of breath, random cough, or maybe the red itchy or dry skin that develops into a rash or maybe that hair loss or those red stinging eyes and even those headaches you get?

Chances are you have experienced one or more of the above during or after swimming, but you shrug it off, just accepting it is all part of the job.

So, say you don’t shrug it off and instead you educate yourself by doing some research; sticking only to credible sources of information. You might come across the following:

“Chlorine species are highly reactive; tissue injury results from exposure to chlorine, hydrochloric acid, hypochlorous acid, or chloramines. Acute, high level exposure to chlorine gas in occupational or environmental settings results in a variety of doserelated lung effects ranging from respiratory mucus membrane irritation to pulmonary edema. Pulmonary function testing can reveal either obstructive or restrictive deficits immediately following exposure, with resolution over time in the majority of cases. However, some of those exposed may demonstrate long-term persistent obstructive or restrictive pulmonary deficits or increased nonspecific airway reactivity after high level exposure to chlorine gas”.

“As with all human and technological intervention, the use of chlorine-based products to disinfect swimming water may lead to a number of unwanted effects, in particular the presence of chlorine-containing compounds in the air. Consequently, chlorination may affect the respiratory health of either those who work as swimming attendants or instructors”.

But let’s say you are just a lifeguard and don’t even get in the water, but you still find yourself developing some health problems. You tell yourself ‘it can’t be the pool; I don’t get in the water’. Well think again!

Research shows whilst you absorb chemical by-products (mono-chloramine and dichloramines) dermally while in the water, you also inhale the gaseous forms of byproducts (tri-chloramines) known as nitrogen trichloride, when reacted with water. They are part of the chlorine by-product group called Trihalomethanes (THM’s).

“Swimming-pool asthma due to airborne nitrogen trichloride can occur in workers who do not enter the water because of this chloramine. The air above indoor swimming pools therefore needs to be assessed and managed as carefully as the water”.

According to Wikipedia, Nitrogen trichloride, trademarked as Agene, was at one time used to bleach flour, but this practice was banned in the United States in 1949 due to safety concerns.

Despite there is plenty of research having been conducted specifically on some health issues associated with swimming pool by-products and their results already published, there is still much more research to be done on other areas of health concerns, which it would seem is also the opinion of our fellow scientists:

“Although the issue of the chlorination of public water supplies has received considerable attention, mainly with regard to the presence of potentially carcinogenic or teratogenic chlorinated by-products, the respiratory hazards of chlorinated swimming water have been less well addressed. Thus, old and even more recent reports on indoor pollution do not deal with the air of chlorinated swimming pools, despite the generally obvious and readily noticeable irritant character of this type of environment”.

Written by John Morrison BSc




How healthy is the air you’re breathing around the swimming pool?


Who is at risk?

Whether you are participating in swimming or just poolside providing moral support, the quality of the air around you is just as important for your health as the quality of the water you swim in.

On top of the myriad of exposure symptoms swimmers can suffer following a visit to an indoor pool, long term exposure to poor air quality can also cause hypersensitivities. Even professional swimmers have been hospitalised in the past thanks to severe exposure symptoms.

Does the air around the swimming pool you visit smell strongly of Chlorine?

If you answered ‘yes’ it’s important to know that the odour is not pure Chlorine, but rather a form of Chloramine (waste products combined with Chlorine), a by-product of Chlorine, called Trihalomethanes (THM).  THM are not only dissolved in the water where they can be absorbed through the skin or ingested but are also present in gaseous state that can be inhaled.

Chloramine gas is heavier than air, which means the bulk of the THM settle right where they can cause the most problems for swimmers. The level of THM in the air significantly rises as swimmer activity in the pool increases due to the surface tension of the water being broken, releasing the THM. A research paper by the Institute of Hygiene at the University of Heidelberg concluded that only 1/3 of THM uptake was by the skin while the remainder was via the respiratory pathway. A fact sheet from The Department of Environmental Services also reported short and long term affects to the central nervous system, bladder, kidneys and liver following exposure to THM.

The following video link provides a great explanation on the dangers of Chloramines: Pool Safety – Chloramines

In light of the above, swimmers, onlooking parents, swim instructors, lifeguards and site operators are all exposed to the health risks associated with a swimming pool. There are a couple simple things swimmers can do to help lower the risk of Chloramines forming such as showering before swimming and utilising the restrooms however the solution to removing the health risks lies with the facility owner/s taking action. Most facilities cannot afford losing customers or acquiring a bad reputation just because of air quality issues that can be resolved by using adequate equipment and maintenance techniques.

The expert team at Healthyswim can certainly help educate your local facility on how to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for you and your family so why not suggest they contact us today – your health will be the ultimate beneficiary.

Written by John Morrison BSc




Choosing the right swim school/public pool


Learning to swim is an extremely important skill, especially here in Australia where surf, sea and sand make up a huge part of our lifestyle. When choosing a suitable swim school/public pool most parents look for clean, safe and functional facilities, a good curriculum, staff credentials, class availability and pricing however often fail to consider the importance of water quality when making a decision.

We all have different priorities but I think it’s safe to say that every one of us finds the health of our family at the top of the list. With this in mind, let’s look at some reasons why you should also consider asking about the sanitation system in place and how facility management are active in their duty to meet health standards.

First and foremost, poorly maintained water can be hazardous to your childs health. Even a supportive parent cheering on the sidelines can be adversely affected with respiratory discomfort if adequate ventilation is not provided within indoor facilities. Does your child complain of red itchy eyes or dry skin following a trip to the pool? Do they have a strong ‘chlorine’ smell on their skin/bathers after swimming? This is not something you should ignore or accept as standard practice as it can be completely avoided. Sadly, not all public pools comply with regulated water standards and in a lot of cases just don’t have the adequate equipment to maintain those standards, especially those that have a high volume of bathers.

Primary Water Sanitation

It’s common knowledge that chemicals such as Chlorine are added to pool water to provide swimmers with protection against bacteria etc. The unfortunate nature of swimming pools however is that swimmers are a major source of pollutants (Ammonia from sweat and urine) which react with Chlorine to form chemical by-products known as Chloramines and Cyanogen Chloride (tear gas). Did you know that it is these Chloramines (not Chlorine) that are directly responsible for the distinct Chlorine odour as well as eye, nose, throat and lung irritations. Cyanogen Chloride adversely affects our lungs, central nervous and cardiovascular systems.

Basic primary sanitation systems don’t remove Chloramines/Cyanogen Chloride from the water and are also rendered useless against parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia which have become immune to Chlorine at standard pool operating levels.

Chloramines are dissolved in pool water, however, Chloramine gas (Trihalomethane) can be released into the air when water surface tension is broken resulting in the strong ‘chlorine’ odour in the air. Staff and swimmers who experience long term exposure may develop allergic sensitivities and will react to even low levels of Chloramines which may force them to avoid the water altogether. Showers prior to swimming are encouraged to help lower the amount of Ammonia entering the water and minimise Chloramine build up risk.

Not only is regular maintenance and water balancing important to avoid health issues, adequate ventilation is also critical in maintaining clean air and a healthy swimming environment.

What else is swimming with you?

In addition to Chloramines and Cyanogen Chloride, the following ‘unintentional release’ material is typically swimming with you in a public pool:

.14 grams of faecal matter per bather;

6 million skin cells per bather after 15 minutes;

Minimum 30mls of urine per bather;

1 litre of sweat per bather, per hour; and

Inorganic products such as sunscreen and body lotions/moisturisers.

When you add the urine that is intentionally released you can certainly see how hard sanitation systems have to work to maintain water quality.

So what are your options?

Look for a swim school/public pool that has invested in a suitable ‘secondary’ sanitation system – particularly Ozone. If you are fortunate enough to live near a swim school/public pool that has, here’s a short explanation of why you are lucky!


Ozone (O3), also known as ‘activated oxygen’ is composed of three Oxygen atoms and is a naturally occurring oxidiser that protects our planet in the atmosphere. If you drink bottled water, odds are it has been purified by Ozone.

How does it work?

Following injection into the water Ozone will safely oxidise organic material, impurities, Chloramines, Cyanogen Chloride, bacteria and viruses. Ozone will not create an unsafe chemical residual as once it has oxidised pollutants (3500 times faster than Chlorine) it breaks down into simple Oxygen which leaves the water noticeably softer and crystal clear. Ozone is also remarkable in the fact that it will effectively destroy Chlorine resistant parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia which are known to cause severe gastric illness. At the very least, this means that you no longer need to worry about your family being exposed to high levels of Chlorine as when using Ozone, Chlorine levels can be dramatically reduced.

So if you are not 100% happy with the water at your local swim school/public pool, please feel free to let us know by nominating them on our website. We can definitely help them, and your families health will be the ultimate beneficiary.

Written by John Morrison BSc

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