To say that it's hot outside this week is an understatement!
High or higher levels of chlorine are necessary to control algae and bacteria in swimming pools especially during times of high use brought on by steamy summer temperatures.
Chlorine turning hair green is an absolute MYTH! There's even a study from 1978 that proves it... but anyway...
Keep this in mind: the average pool will use DOUBLE the amount of chlorine for every 10 degree Fahrenheit rise in water temperature. So, let's say that a typical backyard pool with 15,000 gallons of water at a temperature of 75 degrees uses about 1.5 lbs of chlorine (dry, slow dissolving tabs or sticks) per week with average use, top up water, etc. That same pool at 85 degrees with all the same parameters will use double or 3 lbs of chlorine weekly. At 95 degrees (where many pools are at now during this heat wave), that pool will now require or demand about SIX pounds of chlorine just to keep up!
But as I said, chlorine is NOT the only cause of blonde hair turning green. You must consider other factors; and boy have I witnessed these over the years!
Causes of Green Hair
The most overlooked culprit of green hair or "chlorine hair" is a normal chemical reaction caused by water having too low a pH (under 7.2) and low total alkalinity (under 50 ppm). One of the problems we see day in and day out is that many people refuse to test their pool water on a regular (once or twice weekly) basis or have it professionally tested. Instead of testing, people simply go by how the water looks. As we all know, looks can be deceiving! And especially when it comes to chemistry. This is why Par Pool & Spa is so adamant about maintaining good water balance. Read more here .
Keep in mind that green hair doesn't happen just in swimming pools. It can happen anywhere there is a significant water imbalance. Click here to read about the town of Anderslov, Sweden where the blonde residents of this Scandinavian country had a case of the greenies.
But back to the causes...
Very acidic water (low pH and low total alkalinity) does funky things to our body. Acids corrode tissue (read that as skin and hair). Now throw in a little bit of copper (very typically present in our local supply although in very trace amounts) that has been oxidized by the chlorine (chlorine and bromine are both non-selective oxidizers), and voila! you have all the right ingredients for beautiful blonde hair turning GREEN.
And not just with natural blondes. Folks with color treated hair can and will have similar problems.
The good news is that you can fairly easily bring the hair back to its proper color, but more importantly, you have to deal with and treat the root causes otherwise you're going to be wearing a hat all summer long.
Here's what to do:
1. Have the water properly or professionally tested. No one is trying to rip you off. If the water is that far off balance, it's just not safe.
2. Get the pool back into proper balance: pH, 7.2 - 7.6; total alkalinity 80 -100 ppm for concrete pools, 100 - 150 ppm for vinyl liner pools; calcium hardness about 200 - 250 ppm for almost all pools.
3. If copper is present (you can only find out through proper testing), treat it. The problem isn't going away. The fact of the matter is that there is enough copper in ONE penny to stain an 20,000 gallon pool in a matter of days or hours with the right conditions.
Contact us with your questions:
Phone: 203-377-0100 , Monday - Saturday, 10 - 5 pm Eastern Time, Connecticut, USA.
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