Low Calcium In Pools Can Cause Burns?

by Robert
(Fort Myers, FL)

I recieved a call about someone having burns on their face. They said the doctor told them it's from low calcium levels in a pool.


The parameters were as they always are. Chlorine 3.5; pH 7.5; calcium 80 and alkalinity 90. In my 9 years have never heard of this.




Thanks for the question Robert

This is a new one for me as well. Since taking care of pools from 1999 until today, and being the YMCA pool operator since 2008, I've always seen a correlation between the alkalinity, pH, chlorine, and combined chlorine as the issues of burns and irritation.

Calcium hardness for plaster pools is more important than other kinds of pools. Having a higher level of calcium hardness, between 150 - 250ppm will reduce pitting of the plaster,but keep the heaters free of calcium build-up.

It's best to run the calcium, or total hardness of a pool, as low as you can without damaging any heaters or filtration systems.

I would ask if it's an indoor or outdoor pool. If it's indoor, what are the chloramine, or combined chlorine levels? If they're about 0.6ppm it would be a good time to shock the pool. There also could be an underlying chlorine allergy that the swimmer is not aware of.

Chlorine Allergy

I would definitely get a 2nd opinion from another doctor about a rash or burn allegedly caused by low calcium level. I would also ask the doctor on what evidence is he basing his decision or prognosis? How has that been established? Has he seen other cases of "low calcium burns"? If so, where and when, and what was the outcome?

I wouldn't press the issue too much, just get a 2nd opinion from another doctor. I've never heard of nor seen any "low calcium burns" in the nearly 13 years of taking care of pools. That's not saying they don't exist, it's just after taking care of hundreds of pools and thousands of hours for customers and businesses, I've never personally seen one case.

The only time I've seen a calcium burn was actually me. I added water to calcium and it steamed up. I received 1st degree burns, but I never did that again. Hope this helps and let me know how it turns out.

To post a reply, or if you have a similar question, you can see your post on the Q&A page in the "Calcium Hardness" category.

Swimming Pool Questions & Answers

Check back to this post for updates or answers.

Robert

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Jan 18, 2015
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Low Calcium Levels Burns
by: Robert

I have been in the pool industry since 2002 and only in pool service the last 4 years. The pool is an 800,000 gallon outdoor pool at a college.

I do agree for a second doctor. I have talked with a few people about this and they have not heard of it either. I thought I would try your site which came up on my search.

The pool is a plastic bottom pool, both pools on site are the same. However, the calcium always stayed under 100ppm. I can tell you the salt level is over 6000 ppm. They do drain it half way once a year but with the bather load, it is always pumps chlorine.

I do thank you for your quick response.




Thanks for the follow up

I was wondering about the 6000ppm for salt. Be sure that's the correct range for your salt cell.

Some chlorine generators do have pretty good ranges, between 2500 - 4500, but 6000ppm is something to check into. If the salt level is too high for too long the cell can burn up. I'm sure that would be expensive problem to have. Good luck and let me know how it turns out for you.

Jan 18, 2015
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High Salt Level Autopilot
by: Robert

6000 ppm of salt is not an issue as the sytem is an autopilot professional. They use it on cruise ships that filter the ocean water and high salt is not an issue.

The pool is a college pool and its been drained a few times the last few years. It has only been drained just over 3/4 down. I am no longer with the company with the issue, but now the newest addition to the college has said of a story in Orlando about ten years ago where an entire swim team had teeth issues and they all fell out.

I do believe this was a false statement. I do appriciate your input.




Thanks for the follow up Robert. I did some quick research about this and the only thing I came up with is this article:

http://www.oralanswers.com/2011/06/chlorine-swimming-pools-dissolve-stain-teeth/#

This talks about discoloration of teeth, not losing teeth.

Another less informative article said that you can lose your teeth when the pH gets around 5.5ppm, but this is muriatic acid level. Nobody would ever get the pool that low and keep it there. You'd jump in and burn immediately.

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