How to Safely Use Pool Chemicals

An emergency medicine physician explains the dangers of mishandling pool chemicals.

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CLEVELAND – Pool chemicals are in high demand this summer, and it’s important people know how to safely use them. If mixed the wrong way, you could get hurt.

“There are some shortages in the supply chain and there may not be as many chemicals available, and people still want to use their pool. People are doing some creative things or making some home grown brews or mixing different chemicals, that is extremely dangerous and something that should be avoided,” said Baruch Fertel, MD, emergency medicine physician for Cleveland Clinic.

He said pool chemical injuries happen every year. So what can a pool owner do to stay safe?

To begin with, make sure the chemicals are properly stored. They should be kept in a cool, dry space, away from anything flammable.

Next, open containers where it’s ventilated. You don’t want to risk inhaling toxic fumes.

Finally, always remember to pour powder right into the pool water. If the opposite is done, it can cause a dangerous reaction.

“It may seem counterintuitive because you’re adding the powder to the water. However, if you put a little bit of water into the powder it can cause something called ‘wetting’ and it can cause a chemical reaction, which can cause combustibility,” Dr. Fertel explained.

Don’t forget to check your pool chemical levels, either. Dr. Fertel said dirty water can cause skin rashes and other infections.

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