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Pool chemical safety

Fact

Swimming pool chemicals control bacteria and algae and provide a safe and clean pool. In concentrated form these chemicals are potentially dangerous.

Swimming pool chemicals are reactive. If accidentally mixed with other chemicals, the mixture can become unstable and produce poisonous fumes or even fire.

Pool chemicals do not pose a threat if used and stored correctly. Handle the following with care:

  • Chlorine, in either liquid or granulated state.
  • Pool acids and other stabilisation agents.
  • Pool detergents.

Pool chemical storage and use

The fire services recommend this simple safety checklist:

  • Read the label before purchasing any chemical. Understand the correct use and the dangers posed by the chemical.
  • Choose the least dangerous product that will do the job, especially if children are present.
  • Lock chemicals in a cabinet out of the reach of children. Children are curious, inventive and good climbers.
  • Seal chemicals in their original containers and clearly label all containers.
  • Store away from other chemicals or substances including hydrocarbons (petrol, kerosene, oil etc.)
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions. Handle with extreme caution.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions and wear protective clothing: gloves, safety goggles, trousers and long-sleeved shirts etc.
  • Stop using immediately if you notice: skin rash, headache, breathing problems, nausea, eye irritation, etc.
  • Always add chemicals to the water. Never add water to the chemicals.
  • Do not mix chemicals.
  • Do not prepare more chemical than you need for the job.
  • Do not pour chemicals down the drain, the toilet or the gutter.
  • If you spill chemicals, follow the safety directions on the container label.
  • Do not reuse empty containers or repack product in different containers.

Action

  • Have you inspected your chemical storage areas and container seals recently?
  • Have you contacted your local council to discard old or leftover chemicals? (See Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW [external link])
  • Follow first-aid instructions. If skin or eyes are burnt, if chemical has been swallowed or ingested or fumes inhaled - seek immediate medical attention.
  • Remember the Poisons Information Line: 131 126

In an Emergency Call Triple Zero (000)

A collaboration of the Fire & Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, ACT Fire Brigade and ACT Rural Fire Service