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Sanitizers abound: why do we need so many choices?

By Marcelle Dibrell

There are three basic functions that we seek to accomplish in cleaning a pool:sanitation or disinfection, algae control, and oxidation.

Chlorine-based products comprise the main chemical sanitizers for swimming pools and spas almost everywhere. This is because, not only is chlorine by far the cheapest, it is also totally effective at performing those three goals.

In 2001, chemist John A. Wojtowicz published the article “Survey of Swimming Pool/Spa Sanitizers and Sanitation Systems,” and described basic information about chlorine, as well as chlorine alternatives.

From the point of view of an alternative sanitizer’s ability to disinfect, control algae and oxidize, he concluded, “They do not offer an effective alternative, significant improvement in performance and/or cost effective advantage to chlorine.”

This is a guy who conducted and compiled rigorous studies on chlorine, ozone, biguanide, metallic ions, UV systems and more.

If this scientist is to be believed, then what are we doing with all these expensive chlorine alternatives?

If chlorine is so great, then what is the problem that we are trying to solve? In this edition, these questions, as well as the properties of chlorine, will be discussed.

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