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Chlorine reacts with and becomes incorporated into waste, such as urine or perspiration, forming very unpleasant-smelling chemicals called chloramines, which are also called combined chlorine. These chloramines are responsible for eye and skin irritations and for the characteristic "chlorine smell" in and around pools. As the chloramines form, more chlorine must be added, a process known as super chlorination or shocking, to "burn out" contaminants in the water and to continue the killing of bacteria and viruses.

To prevent these problems, many pool owners prefer to use a separate and more efficient oxidizer. Monopersulfate is a stronger oxidizer than chlorine. Monopersulfate is normally added on a weekly basis. It is odorless, is not degraded by the sun and has a minimal effect on pH and pool water chemistry. When bromine is used as a sanitizer, it also acts as an oxidizer, but it is not as strong as chlorine. As a result, separate oxidizers or shocks are commonly used in pools treated with bromine. Hydrogen peroxide is the oxidizer used with biguanides since chlorine and bromine are not compatible with biguanides. Hydrogen peroxide has a minimal effect on pH. Ozone, fed into the water continuously by an ozone generator, is the strongest oxidizer for pool water treatment.

Ozone has a minimal effect on pH and water chemistry. Both monopersulfates and ozone are compatible with chlorine and bromine.


Some sanitizers should always be in the water to kill or inactivate bacteria and viruses. The presence of the sanitizer as a residual helps ensure that when bacteria or viruses are introduced to the water from bathers or the environment, they are inactivated and exposure to people is minimized. Chlorine, bromine and biguanides all meet this requirement since they stay in the water for some time. There are test kits available for the pool owner to test and ensure that the sanitizer is present. Real Choices for Real Gains Pool owners have a variety of choices available to meet their water care needs. By using specialized products, or by combining products, consumers can achieve the key pluses without the troublesome minuses.

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