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Saltwater or Chlorine? What is a Healthier Option for Your Swimming Pool’s Water?

Saltwater or Chlorine

Skin is the largest organ in the human body and easily absorbs whatever chemicals and minerals come in contact. As there is a rise in chemical-sensitivity and other environmental concerns, it is important for swimming pool owners to learn about the differences between chlorinated water and saltwater. Which is the healthier option?

Here is a comparison of saltwater vs. chlorinated water:  

  • Chlorine kills bacteria through a chemical reaction. By adding it to pool water, it converts into chemicals that kill microorganisms. Gas from chlorine, however, can cause health issues to the skin, hair, and eyes. It is important to maintain good ventilation in any area where chlorine is used. Overexposure to the chemical is toxic.
  • Saltwater pools have some chlorine, as salt turns into chlorine when it goes through a process called electrolysis. However, the amount of chlorine is much less concentrated in a salt water pool than one that is chlorine treated.
  • The chlorine used to normally clean a pool is chemically processed differently than what is processed by a salt water generator. The smell that usually stays on your skin and hair after swimming is from chloramines that are produced from the high levels of chlorine in the water. Chloramines aren’t found in swimming pool water when using a saltwater treatment system.
  • Chlorine evaporates, whereas salt does not. This means chlorine, but not salt, needs to be added on a continual basis to swimming pools.
  • Salt doesn’t burn your eyes and sinuses like chlorine does. It is milder on the skin and doesn’t cause respiratory distress. In fact, rinsing your sinuses with salt water is recommended to keep them clean, which is why we can typically breathe better when we are near the ocean.
  • A Belgian study from 2003 reported that chlorinated water reacts with organic matter from swimmers (such as urine and sweat) and creates an irritant called trichloramine that increases the risk of asthma in children. The study found that trichloramine can damage the cellular barrier that protects the lungs.

An existing swimming pool can be switched to a saltwater pool system by installing a chlorine cell generator. For more information on saltwater pool maintenance systems, contact Olympus Pools today.

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