Anyone who owns or swims in a swimming pool should be aware of the dangers of pool chlorine. Chlorine is utilized to keep swimming pools free from bacteria and other harmful substances so the water is safe for swimming. However, pool chlorine is not without its risks. As with all household chemicals, it is necessary to follow proper procedures when storing and using chlorine to avoid a number of safety problems.
The first safety rule for chlorine, and all household chemicals, is to follow the manufacturer’s directions for safe usage and storage. The fact that chlorine is a common chemical does not mean that it is not dangerous when used improperly.
The fact is that chlorine is poisonous, flammable and corrosive. When stored and used properly, it can serve the function of keeping the water in your swimming pool clean. Used improperly, chlorine poses serious risks of illness, injury, fire and explosion.
When using chlorine, do not:
Breathe in chlorine fumes
Consume or ingest chlorine
Touch the substance with your bare hands
Mix chlorine with any other chemicals
Mix different forms of chlorine together
Chlorine storage tips:
Make sure that chlorine is stored out of reach of children
Ensure that pets cannot access stored chlorine
Keep chlorine away from any other substances that are combustible
Do not remove chlorine from its original container for storage
Keep the poison control telephone number handy
Follow proper fire safety and prevention guidelines
Note that these tips apply to all household chemicals
Follow manufacturer’s suggestions for safe storage without fail
Maintain Proper Water pH Levels
The primary reason for using chlorine in swimming pools is to keep the water free from bacteria and other organisms that can pose health risks for humans. However, simply putting chlorine in your swimming pool is not sufficient for ensuring that water is safe for swimming. If you have a swimming pool that is treated with chlorine, you have to make sure the pH levels are where they need to be at all times. If pH levels aren’t maintained properly, harmful bacteria can persist even in water that has been treated with chlorine.
Dangers of Pool Chlorine Exposure:
In addition to safety concerns related to storing, handling, and using chlorine, there are also risks associated with swimming in water that has been treated with this chemical. A number of negative side effects are believed to be related to chlorine exposure including:
Can irritate skin and trigger rashes, including eczema
Can cause burning, itchy eyes
Can trigger or aggravate a variety of bronchial problems, including asthma
Possible association between chlorine exposure and certain types of cancer
Has a bleaching effect on clothing and hair
Alternatives to Pool Chlorine
There are natural, chemical-free alternatives to pool chlorine. If you are not comfortable storing chlorine on your property or you would prefer to avoid treating your swimming pool with chemicals, you may want to consider other alternatives.
Chlorine or No Chlorine?
Only you can decide if a chlorine or non-chlorine pool maintenance system is right for you. Using chemicals is not without risks. All-natural products don’t have the same risks as their chemical counterparts, but there is debate regarding how effective they are when it comes to keeping water free from harmful bacteria and other organic substances. No matter what type of pool maintenance system you choose, it is necessary for you to carefully follow all instructions for safe use and storage.
This week, ICC attended the 33rd Annual Conference and Exposition of the Dangerous Goods Advisory Committee (DGAC), one of the largest trade associations for organizations involved in dangerous goods. The conference, which was held in Tampa, Florida, was well attended by shippers and carriers, as well as companies providing services such as emergency response. ICC’s own Karrie Monette-Ishmael and Barbara Foster were among the exhibitors showing their latest products and services.
The program started with a keynote address from Tim Butters, the Deputy Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). He described how PHMSA was “trying to reopen lines of communication with industry,” that may have been damaged in recent years, and discussed some of their important work on safety and security.
The program itself provided many informative and challenging sessions. Workshops gave a hands-on look at such diverse topics as writing closure instructions for packaging, and compatibility issues between chemicals and packaging. Regulators from North America and Europe gave overviews of issues and upcoming changes to the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, the Hazardous Materials Regulations of 49 CFR, and other related regulations. Speakers from industry were present to give insight into topics such as classification of environmentally hazardous substances. The ever-problematic issue of lithium batteries was addressed by Bob Richard, former Deputy Administrator of PHMSA and now with Labelmaster Services.
A new feature this year (and one that was a big hit!) was a chance to “speed date the regulators”. Participants could choose representatives from various departments for short discussions in small groups about specific topics of concern.
This was the last conference for the current DGAC President, Mike Morrissette. After many years of service in the dangerous goods field, Mike is retiring. ICC wishes him a happy retirement, and thanks him for his years of untiring support for all of us in the industry. We also congratulate the incoming President, Vaughn Arthur, and look forward to working with him.
ICC is a proud supporter of DGAC, one of the best sources for companies involved with goods/hazardous materials to learn about upcoming regulations, and touch base with the people who create them. Check DGAC out at http://www.dgac.org for more information about this great organization, and consider attending next year’s conference, which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee on October 15-17, 2012.
Many workers are unaware of chemicals that create potential hazards in their work environment, making them more vulnerable to exposure and injury.
What is a chemical?
All matter is composed of chemical elements. Chemicals that put people at risk in the workplace are known as hazardous materials. A wide variety of man-made and natural chemicals used in industry and manufacture can be hazardous. These include pharmaceuticals, pesticides, polymers, acids and petrochemicals to name a few. Other substances not commonly regarded as chemicals or hazardous materials may also put people at risk in the workplace, these include such substances as sawdust, brick dust, cleaners and paints. Risk levels can vary according to substances. Some chemicals may cause irritation, allergic reactions or sensitization; others may be flammable, corrosive or explosive. In some cases, chemicals can cause sickness and even death. The effects caused by hazardous materials are not always immediate. Some may put users at risk months and even years after contact, especially if the exposure was extensive.
Increasing awareness is believed to be the most effective way of preventing and reducing sickness and injury from hazardous materials. What potentially hazardous materials are being used in your workplace? They may be obvious, like pharmaceuticals, pesticides and industrial chemicals. They may be solid, liquid or gas. They may be ordinary substances such as paints or cleaning agents. Question the role of any hazardous material in the workplace. Is the chemical really necessary? How hazardous is the substance, and how could it constitute a hazard? If it could enter the body, would it be through the skin, stomach, lungs, or other avenues? What precautions are necessary for its safe handling, use and storage? Are these precautions being taken? How hazardous is the substance?
In Canada and the US, information on chemicals in the workplace must be provided with each product. Containers must be labelled with the required information so that the substance may be used safely. The information has to come from the supplier or importer.
MSDS’s are Material Safety Data Sheets that are provided in addition to the required labelling. The supplier or importer is responsible for providing this document for each product, with details on the identity of the substance, health hazard information, and precautions for safe use and handling. If an MSDS is not supplied, ask for one ~ they should be supplied on request.
Make The Job Safe
Chemicals and hazardous materials in the workplace need not be dangerous if used safely. Awareness of possible risks, even from ordinary substances, can help save sickness, discomfort and lost productivity. Information is the key to awareness of hazardous substances, with proper information and training, safe precautions can be taken. Co-operation and consultation will benefit both employer and employee, and lead to safe and effective use of chemicals in the workplace.
ICC has become a leader in providing supplies and services to hazardous materials shippers throughout North America and around the world. Whether you need training programs, labels or MSDS services, your one stop shop is ICC The Compliance Center Inc.
This is the mother of all cleaning mishaps, and hopefully your mother told you not to do it. There are a lot of cleaning supplies out there with pretty clever names. The only way to know for sure that you’re not mixing up a weapon of mass destruction is to READ those labels. In case your mom didn’t tell you, mixing bleach and ammonia can kill you. The nitty-gritty details of the chemical reaction aren’t important, but the end result is a release of chlorine gas. Chlorine gas is so dangerous, it was used as a chemical warfare agent in World War I.
It can be easy to get caught up in the act of cleaning spaces and forget to clean ourselves. Be careful not to move the nasty little critters that live in your bathroom to the kitchen counter. The best prevention for spreading disease is to wash your hands – thoroughly and often.
Besides mixing bleach and ammonia, there are plenty of other household chemicals that can cause damage. Many of them can be absorbed through the skin or chemically burn layers of the skin. Use rubber gloves to protect your hands and long sleeves to protect your arms. Don’t forget to maintain the gloves, either. Worn and cracked rubber gloves don’t offer much protection.
Now that we’ve protected our skin, let’s protect our eyes as well. Eye protection would help keep cleaning agents out of your eyes. In case you still manage to hold that blue glass cleaner backwards and squirt it into your eye, make sure you know how to flush out that chemical from your eyes. Flushing the eyes with water is the preferred treatment to remove foreign objects or chemical contamination from the eyes.
We’ve successfully handled household hazmat, just to fall off the ladder trying to get those six-year-old spider webs in the corner of the entryway. Practice proper ladder safety to keep from breaking a leg.