With summer swimming season approaching, Rutgers expert Diane Calello is available to discuss the risks of exposure to chlorine in pool chemicals as well as household bleach. In high concentrations or enclosed spaces, chlorine gas can cause eye irritation, breathing problems and lung injury.
“Chlorine bleach should always be used in a well-ventilated area if used indoors,” said Calello, executive and medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s Department of Emergency Medicine. “When using powdered chlorine to treat a swimming pool, avoid shaking the container to minimize dust, fumes and splashes. Open containers only in well-ventilated areas and preferably outdoors. Never mix chlorine with ammonia, an acid or other cleaning solutions. Doing so produces toxic gases that can have life-threatening effects.”