Pool chlorine creates poison chlorine gas when the chlorinated water evaporates.
What is Chlorine?
Chlorine is considered a powerful disinfecting agent because it efficiently breaks down any organic materials it comes in contact with. In very diluted solutions, chlorine is used to aggressively poison and effectively break down living cells. Water treatment and food surface disinfecting processes often include the use of chlorine or chlorine bleach to initially kill micro-organisms.
Chlorine can also be used to, as it was discovered in the 1700s to do, quickly remove coloring from clothing and other materials. At its elemental form, chlorine is a poison gas, that when mixed with sodium and oxygen, is acidic to the point of poisoning and corroding into nothing even the smallest living organisms it comes in contact with.
Pool Chlorine Uses
Because chlorine is used in very diluted volumes in pools in conjunction with water filtration systems, many experts would argue that diluted levels are sufficient to kill bacteria but minimally corrosive to human tissue. Several problems with this exist, however, as it is deadly if ingested, inhaled, or encountered in concentrated form. Pool chlorine creates poison chlorine gas when the chlorinated water evaporates. Pool chlorine also creates deadly gases when mixed with other pool chemicals or cleaners.
The biggest problem with using chlorine to treat pool water is you have to be careful to the point of gloves and face masks in handling the material (lest you get it in your eyes and lose your vision), and you have to be exact in how much chlorine you add to a pool every time you use it. You also have to be cautious in ensuring pool filtration is always working, because, in any of these cases, too much chlorine can get in the pool, and it only takes a little bit of the poison gas to kill a person.
Pool Chlorine Alternatives
Several pool chlorine alternatives exist. However, note that almost all pool chlorine alternatives either create chlorine as a byproduct (like saltwater pool systems) or recommend the use of pool chlorine in conjunction with the alternative in the treatment of the pool water. For instance, bromine can be used to treat pool water but is often used in addition to chlorine in treating the pool water. Hydrogen peroxide is also a powerful disinfecting agent that can be used to treat pool water, but chlorine is cheaper and requires at least ten times less of the chemical in a solution per gallon of water (1 part chlorine per million per gallon of water versus 10 to 30 parts hydrogen peroxide per million per gallon of water). The reason most people that recommend chlorine for water treatment do so because it is powerful and cheap. They will also be the first to admit that it is corrosive and toxic, so you should wash it off of you immediately after you come into contact with it.
There are, however, non-toxic non-chlorine pool treatment systems that are safe and healthy alternatives to pool chlorine. Oxygen Pools are chlorine-free pool systems that actually require less maintenance and cost less to own and operate than other pool systems. Chlorine pool systems can even be converted to chlorine free pool systems with Oxygen Pools, Everything you need to convert or get started with an average pool is $399, which is less than the cost of one salt cell replacement for a saltwater pool system or a year or two of chlorine/saltwater pool maintenance.