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Pool Water: Why Swimmer Hygiene is Important

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Becoming the preferred Pool and Spa Company

A majority of swimmers are aware of the job pool professionals do, in maintaining pool water hygiene standards. Pool hygiene is not only bent for pool cleaners but also the swimmers. Some swimmers are ignorant of the roles they ought to play in the maintenance of pool hygiene levels for a safe and healthy experience.

Pool Water: Why Swimmer Hygiene is Important

Good swimmer hygiene practices enable the swimmer to maintain high standard quality pool water. This reduces the spread of contaminated water-related illnesses. Some practices include having a bath before entering the pool, avoiding excreting in pools whether by urinating or defecating. Also, do not take a swim if you are experiencing diarrhea.

The Water Quality & Health Council first investigated the subject of swimmer hygiene in the year 2009. The survey featured issues such as pooping and peeing in the swimming pool. The WQHC released its study findings in 2011, after a public lobby.

The research revealed that 47% of Americans agree to unhygienic practices in public pools. This featured 17% who admitted to urinating in the pool, and 35% concur that they do not take a shower before getting into the pools.

In 2012, WQHC conducted similar research and discovered that 68%of the United States citizens, still don’t shower before a swim while 44% find a pre-swim bath as unneeded.

Effects of poor swimmer’s hygiene 

The pool water chemistry is usually altered by components such as body oils, urine, sweat, fecal substances and cosmetics. Sweat and urine, which are nitrogen compounds, react with the chlorine ions in the water forming irritable chloramines. The effects of chloramines like itchy skin, red, irritated eyes are at times confused for high levels of chlorine by swimmers.

Poor hygiene practices are a major contributory factor in high chloramines levels. Swimmers who add to this water impurities exhaust-free chlorine levels. They end up risking their well-being and exposure to waterborne sicknesses.

A swimmer often gets an ear infection in the canal. This develops when the micro-organisms in contaminated pool water penetrate in the ear canal. The micro-organisms create an enabling environment favorable for bacterial growth and infecting the skin. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports 2011, states that swimmer’s ear infections recorded 2.4 million hospital visits and about $500 million yearly healthcare expenses between 2003-2007.

There is a common myth that pool water contains a dye that turns to red, circulating those that pee in the water. However, the swimmer’s red eyes are the only sure way to determine contaminated water.

The use of an EPA- registered sanitizer & regulating chlorine levels between 1 to 4 ppm, gets rid of the majority of popular water bacteria even those that cause swimmer’s ears and red eyes.

Promoting Good Swimmer Hygiene Practices

Take a pre and post-shower: 

Health department codes encourage swimmer hygiene by advising on a pre-swim shower. To achieve these facilities require to have a clean, user-friendly bathroom. Dirty facilities can discourage swimmers from using their facilities, therefore breaking this important hygiene rule. Pre-showers removes any contaminants from your body, such as body lotions and sweat, to avoid transferring them to water. A 

study in Netherlands 2012, discovered that a 1-minute bath removes the most of body’s impurity. A post-shower eliminates any impurities from the pool water from your body.

Regular restroom breaks:

Frequent bathroom breaks for children and adults can help reduce urinating and defecating in the pool water. Lack of these facilities around the backyard pool area or if they are poorly maintained can be a leading factor as to why swimmers opt to excrete in the pools.

Avoid consumption of pool water:

Sometimes water can get into the swimmer’s mouth unintentionally, especially for young kids. When this happens, you shouldn’t consume the water as it contains harmful chemicals not meant for human use. Consuming pool water can lead to stomach complications as well as vomiting and diarrhea.

Do not swim when unwell:

Swimmers who are unwell should keep off the pool area until they feel better. Such can include those who are vomiting or diarrhea to avoid contaminating the pool water before they could get to the restroom. Moreover, those with an open wound, especially from a surgical operation, ought to avoid swimming until the wound is comply healed and covered. This is due to the pressure of pool water which can worsen the open wound, causing complications. Furthermore, bacteria in the pools can come into contact with the open wound leading to a serious condition.

Educating the public:

WOHC advises of incorporation of swimmer hygiene education, especially in health classes or swimming lessons. Pool staffs can use educational posters available from CDC, to create awareness to the swimmers.

Good swimming hygiene practices are for the benefit of all to enjoy the amazing summer experience by the pools.

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Pool News coverage brought to you by Pool Magazine's own Marcus Packer. Marcus Packer is a 20 year pool industry veteran pool builder and pool service technician. In addition to being a swimming pool professional, Marcus has been a writer and long time contributor for Newsweek Magazine's home improvement section and more recently for Florida Travel + Life. Have a story idea or tip you'd like to share with Pool Magazine? Email [email protected] your story idea.

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Cleaning and Service Equipment and Supplies

BioLab Plant Reopening Will Impact Chlorine Prices for 2023

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BioLab Plant in Westlake, LA - Reopening Will Impact Chlorine Prices for 2023

The news of BioLab’s plant burning to the ground during Hurricane Laura in 2020 had a ripple effect on chlorine prices that has lasted for the past two years. We first reported that BioLab was rebuilding the plant back in July of 2021. A recent announcement that construction is completed and in time for summer production has pool industry analysts optimistic. “We are delighted to reopen our BioLab facility in time to support the 2023 pool season,” said Michael Sload, CEO of KIK Consumer Products.

BioLab is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of dry chlorine products. An announcement that the Westlake, Louisiana facility is fully operational means that one of the driving factors for the initial spike we saw on the price of chlorine has been removed. Prices for dry chlorine products soared in 2021 due to concerns about shortages and remained high through the summer of 2022.

Understanding The Correlation Between BioLab & Price Increases

The conditions for a sudden surge in the price for chlorine stemmed partly from the fact that BioLab was out of commission. The main factor that was driving prices to explode during the past two years was largely due to the pandemic in general.

A large percentage of the population was quarantined, which meant more people than ever before, were at home and using their swimming pool. This put a much higher glut on demand than anticipated. With the pandemic shutting many plants down, and logistical delays plaguing distributors throughout most of 2021, these conditions as well as rising inflation in 2022 kept prices high through the summer.

The reopening of the BioLab facility will certainly impact the supply chain in a positive way. “BioLab will be actively supplying the pool market for the 2023 season which should provide some relief,” said plant manager Donald Brunette.

BioLab ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the reopening of the Westlake, LA facility.

Prices are predicted to begin dropping a bit in light of that fact but will certainly not sink lower than they were prior to the pandemic. As the population starts to adjust to a post-Covid world, the surge we saw for swimming pools has already begun to recalibrate to pre-pandemic levels. The only remaining catalyst for keeping chlorine prices from truly resetting back to 2020 is the cumulative rate of inflation is roughly 14.7% higher than in 2020.

While this should certainly factor into the equation, most experts agree that with this news, the chlorine shortage is finally over and a bucket of chlorine tablets should cost substantially less next summer than it has in previous years. This comes as welcome news for both consumers and pool professionals.

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Ultimate Water Taps Jeff Jones for Sales of Chlorine Genie

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Jeff Jones

Ultimate Water, whose flagship product is the Chlorine Genie, is pleased to announce the addition of industry veteran Jeff Jones as the new Regional Sales Manager and Buying Group Liaison for the company’s residential and commercial divisions.  Based out of Texas, Jones has been in the swimming pool industry for over 40 years spanning a broad range of roles including the VP of Sales for DEL Ozone, National Sales Manager for Letro Products, as well as work in construction management and sales for Blue Haven and Riverbend Pools.  Most recently Jones managed buying group sales for Florida Water Products. 

“We are very pleased to have Jeff join our team,” says Thomas Vessiere, National Sales Director for Ultimate Water.  “Jeff brings deep experience, industry knowledge, and strong relationships that will be especially helpful as the demand for the Chlorine Genie grows exponentially in our industry.” 

Having sold and designed pool water sanitation systems for many years, Jones is very enthusiastic about being a part of the growing success of the Chlorine Genie.  “The design and functionality of the Chlorine Genie makes it an ideal product for our industry and is especially welcome right now as builders, retailers and service professionals grapple with the most efficient way to continuously produce chlorine safely, cost effectively and immediately for their customers,” explains Jones. 

Pool Service Software

Jones will be at the AQUALive Show booth # 416 and can be reached directly at [email protected] or by calling 214-415-2510.

More information about the Chlorine Genie can be found at:

www.chlorinegenie.com

San Diego, CA

(800) 970-7616

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A Borates Shortage is Looming on The Horizon

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A Borates Shortage is Looming on The Horizon

One of the specialty chemicals being talked about a lot in light of the chlorine shortages and rising prices are borates. As strong proponents of borates, it troubles us to say that our go-to sanitzer supplement may soon be facing the same shortages and rising costs that we’ve been seeing on the trichlor side.

What The Boron Shortage Means For The Pool Industry

If you’re in the pool business you already know, borates are becoming increasingly difficult to find. What inventory is available is vastly more expensive than in previous years. We’re already knee-deep into the dog days of summer and prices for chlorine have skyrocketed well past analysts’ projections.

A lot of pool service professionals have been turning to borates as the savior during this time of inflation and rising prices. Many technicians already use borates as a buffer against upwards shifting pH. When your pH level rises above what is deemed “normal” (about 7.8), using borates achieves optimum results.

Pool service professionals have been turning to borates in a time of rising prices for sanitizers like trichlor.

Why Pool Professionals Are Turning To Borates

Bacteria can thrive in water with a high pH level. When this happens it makes chlorine less effective. Pool professionals use borates to alleviate the issue, because it works to keep pH from drifting upward. In addition, there are other positive aspects to using borates in your pool. For one, it keeps the pool clear of algae and calcium scaling. Pool equipment repair specialists will be the first ones to recommend borates. When it comes to maintaining ideal water chemistry for your pool equipment, borates does an amazing job.

For the past few years, the adoption of borates by pool pros has steadily increased season after season. The concern now is that we may have hit maximum capacity as demand has increased well beyond available inventory.

Dwindling Boron Supplies Driving Prices Higher

The global boron market shortage is driving prices higher this season. For those who’ve been thinking of switching to using borates, this definitely is something to consider. When it comes to getting trichlor at affordable rates, it already feels that pool pros are a lower priority as far as it goes to maintaining pricing structures. Now, it appears the same thing has begun happening with borates.

Although borates and boric acid are near synonymous with pools, the swimming pool industry itself is actually a lower priority in terms of its consumption of boron. The industrial glass industry is the largest consumer of boron, roughly 48%, followed by the ceramics industry (15%) and agricultural industry (15%); the cleaning industry of which the pool industry represents a fraction consumes roughly 2% of the world’s boron.

Boron is in high demand. There are a myriad of applications for it aside from pool cleaning.

You’ll find boron in everything from industrial fertilizers to high-end ceramics and solar panels. Boron also has medical applications which improve wound healing and boosts the body’s usage of estrogen, testosterone, and vitamin D. It improves magnesium absorption, reduces inflammation, increases antioxidants, and boosts brain electrical activity in both cognitive performance as well as short-term memory.

What is absolutely certain is that we (the pool industry) didn’t cause a borates shortage. Clearly, demand is higher in these other industries which are causing prices to surge. Right now the boron supply chain is very weak. Over 60% of the material comes from mines located in Turkey which is the top producer, followed by Russia, South America and the United States.

For the time being, production is gradually declining. As existing boron reserves deplete, we’re seeing demand far exceed supplies, resulting in higher prices such as $1,250 per ton, far exceeding analysts’ predictions for $739 per ton.

While the demand in the U.S. by pool professionals may be high, the top consumer of boron is China, followed by India and Japan. Boron is produced domestically only in the State of California and it appears very little of it is earmarked towards maintaining supply chains for borates.

Final Thoughts

The story isn’t all doom and gloom for pool professionals who want to switch to borates. Fortunately, folks like Natural Chemistry, Brenntag, and others are still intent on keeping inventory on the shelves so you should still be able to find their products through distribution. If they don’t have borates available, demand that they replenish their stock. This may be the only way to guarantee the pool industry remains a priority at all.

Listen to our entire discussion on the Talking Pools podcast.

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