Chemical burns are a relatively rare source of a burn injury, accounting for less than 6% of all burn center admissions. However, just because they are not very common does not mean that they can be easily overlooked, or that they are not a serious problem. In fact, we encounter situations on a daily basis that can lead to a chemical burn.
One of these situations is an especially popular activity during the dog days of summer – swimming.
Swimming Pools House Potent Chemicals
Like any body of water that has no current, swimming pools can be breeding grounds for all sorts of bacteria. Stagnant water is the perfect place for life forms to grow, from mosquitoes to other bugs, to algae and bacterial molds.
The way to prevent this from happening in your pool is simple – add chlorine. Chlorine, however, only works efficiently in certain conditions: When the pool water’s pH level is between 7.4 and 7.6. When the pH levels of pool water drop beneath this golden window, chlorine can decrease, letting bacteria grow. If the pH levels get too high, though, the chemical reactions caused by the chlorine in the water slow down, and bacteria levels increase, as well.
To keep the pH level of pool water in this magical area, pool owners use hydrochloric acid to keep it down. Unfortunately, by adding another potent chemical into the mix, it increases the dangers associated with swimming in a pool.
High Chlorine Levels Can Cause Chemical Burns
By itself, chlorine is a dangerous chemical that can lead to burn injuries if not used properly. This is especially true for indoor pools with poor ventilation. There, chlorine in the water evaporates into the air – becoming chlorine gas – and gets trapped in the room, unable to escape and becoming more and more concentrated. This can lead to uncomfortable chemical burns throughout your respiratory tract, as well as in your eyes and on your skin.
Hydrochloric Acid is a Dangerous Chemical That Can Cause Severe Burns
While the dangers of chlorine are significant and should be avoided, hydrochloric acid is an even more potent chemical when it comes to swimming pools. Pool owners who need to balance their pool water’s pH levels using hydrochloric acid should take significant safety steps:
- Wear rubber gloves, breathing mask, and safety goggles. If hydrochloric acid comes into contact with your skin, it can cause an immediate and painful burn, while the vapors from the acid can irritate your eyes and respiratory tract.
- Only pour hydrochloric acid into the deep end of the pool, where it can dilute more quickly. Do not get any on the walls of the pool or any pool fittings.
Walker Morgan, Burn Injury Attorneys
If you have suffered a chemical burn, contact the law office of Walker Morgan online, or at (800) 922-8411.