Pool Chemical Safety
Pool Chemical Safety
With the onset of the summer, pool season is upon us. In addition to water safety concerns which are
very important, the chemicals involved in pool maintenance are also concerning. Remember that many indoor
pools exist in commercial settings, and hot tubs are often used all year, so these concerns are present all year
Pool maintenance chemicals of concern include oxidizers and corrosives.
Oxidizers: Oxidizers are solids, liquids, or gases that react readily with most organic materials or reducing
agents with little to no energy input. Oxidizers are a severe fire hazard. They are not necessarily combustible,
but they can intensify combustion and increase the flammable range for chemicals, so they ignite more readily.
Corrosives: Corrosives are solids, liquids, or gases that will dissolve the structure of an object. They can
be acids or bases. When they come in contact with a surface or living tissue, the surface or tissue deteriorates.
There are multiple oxidizers used in pool maintenance, most of which contain some form of chlorine. Many
indoor pools and/or hot tubs may use bromine-based chemicals. These chlorine/bromine-based chemicals are
used for water sanitation. For homeowners, these materials commonly come as solids or liquids.
Pools and hot tubs must also be pH balanced and this is where the corrosives are involved. Acids lower the pH
and bases raise the pH of a solution. For homeowners, these materials commonly come as solids or liquids.
• Oxidizers are NOT compatible with each other. Do NOT mix different types of pool chlorine and
especially pool shock. Even (2) different solid pool shock chemicals may react violently with each other.
• Do NOT allow water/moisture/humidity to enter an oxidizer container. Water infiltration into an
oxidizer container may trigger a chemical reaction. This reaction may involve fire and will often evolve
chlorine gas which is highly toxic. Always store oxidizers in a cool, dry place and in a container with a
tight-fitting lid that is kept closed.
• Corrosives are destructive to human tissue and as such, must be handled carefully and possibly with
protective gloves/clothing/eye protection.
• These pool maintenance chemicals are often found in sheds and garages so incidents involving these
structures may trigger the need for a hazardous materials team request for assessment and remediation.