Busting the Myth on What Really Causes Accidental Chlorine Gas Exposures at Swimming Pools

is the title of an August 16, 2019 Water Quality & Health Council article by Guest Author Rudy Stankowitz. Stankowitz writes, on what was described as “the first nice day of summer break” in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Veterans Memorial Swimming Pool became a scene of mayhem when suddenly a chlorine gas release sickened 50 people. Reports of dozens rushed to the hospital due to the June 4 tragedy, including the admission of children to pediatric intensive care units, detail the magnitude of the event. Although relatively rare, incidents of this type turn the tables on our expectations for chlorine at swimming pools. Suddenly, a substance we use to help keep swimming healthy and safe by destroying waterborne pathogens becomes a threat to public safety. How can this be possible? As it turns out, we in the swimming pool industry are committed to preventing these accidental chorine gas releases. An expert group of swimming pool stakeholders organized by the American Chemistry Council produced a free training video on this subject in 2018. Due to the gravity of the topic and to assist in the outreach, I joined forces and became a member of this panel following my viewing of Preventing Unintended Chemical Injection. The video walks the viewer through the scenarios that can lead to an unintended release of chlorine gas at an aquatic facility, hotel, or apartment complex. Our current challenge is raising awareness of the prevention strategies described in the video and dispelling the false notion that the problem is specific to pools that utilize chlorine gas as a disinfectant. Click HERE to read the full article.

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