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8 comments
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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Pool Chlorine tablet fume inhilation

11/25/2007 2:13 AM

As a homeowner (just purchased 1+ month ago) with my first pool I recently was making some minor repairs to my fairly new pool equipment, installing a new gauge and loading up the chlorinator mechanicm with 3" diameter chlorine tablets. The previous owner had stashed a small pail of chlorine tablets outdoors near the filter equipment and since I hadn't seen it previously; I popped it open and insde was some of those 3" round tablets like I had just bought at the local pool store, except that they were yellowish and had a horrible chemical odor so I quickly put the top back on. I inhaled some of that odor and it made me a bit ill, with a sore throat, a cough and some minor headache later (may not be associated with the inhalation of chlorine gas (?). Anyway I was wondering, since it's after 11 p.m. out here on the west coast (northern California) and doctors are scarce at this time of night; whether this noxious chlorine smell was real bad for my health and would it have any lasting effects on my throat, nostrils, lungs etc.? I don't feel too bad now, throat still hurts though and I can't seem to take real deep breaths easily. Note: I found your website while looking for information about chlorine inhalation on the internet. Quite a site I must say. And the only association I have had with Engineering was that I have had about 5 years experience as a Communications (Telephony) Egineer some years back. Thanks for any information and yes I will check the net for a physicians website and their prognosis on this. You can reply directly to me if you wish at jamest@Awwwsome.com

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Guru
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#1

Re: Pool Chlorine tablet fume inhilation

11/25/2007 3:34 AM

Hello James,

I shall email you this answer, just as well....

Your inhalation of the Chlorine gas, has produced Hydrochlorous acid in your nasal and throat membranes.

Best thing for your throat, is to drink frequent small swallows of whole milk.

That will neutralize the acid on the membranes, and ease the pain too.

Throat healing should take place over a week or so, normally without lasting effects - when you vomit, a2% Hydrochloric acid mixture ejects upwards from your stomach, and providing you "rinse well, and swallow some water" no lasting effects of vomiting damage the throat - after all, a hot curry will do more damage on the way down)

I have inhaled Chlorine gas many years ago, am still alive to tell the tale, but the bronchial passages cannot easily be "rinsed out".

The effects on breathing passages will be worse if you are an older person.

Accordingly, best to sit up somewhat tonight, on an extra pillow or in an easy chair.

This is most important if you live alone.

The irritation caused by the Hydrochlorous acid in the bronchial passages can cause local (oedema) swelling - and if you are lying down flat in a bed, you may drown in the body's attempts to flush out the acidic coating to the breathing passages.

If you or your loved ones are concerned about the breathing, best to get to a Hospital,if possible, because they do have the breathing equipment available....

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#2

Re: Pool Chlorine tablet fume inhilation

11/25/2007 11:23 PM

Tri-clor tabs develop low dose of chlorine gas but rare to be harmful. Always vent any containment of these tablets in containers or chlorinating devices and avoid breathing fumes when not using a gas mask . Most people won't repeat the same experience. Never sniff pool chemicals wet or dry .

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#7
In reply to #2

Re: Pool Chlorine tablet fume inhilation

11/26/2007 11:02 AM

Yes, I have had an experience similar to the original poster. The sore throat should be short-lived. Expect he should be better by now.

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#3

Re: Pool Chlorine tablet fume inhilation

11/26/2007 12:33 AM

The symptoms you described are typical of someone who has inhaled a corrosive gas like chlorine. Best thing for you to do is to seek medical treatment immediately. Whether there is any long term harm or not will depend on your age, physical condition, amount inhaled etc. One more thing: if you have to handle poisons, it's best to wear proper PPE, including gas masks if you're dealing with noxious gases, and to handle them outdoors, where the fumes will at least be diluted with plenty of fresh air.

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#4

Re: Pool Chlorine tablet fume inhalation

11/26/2007 12:50 AM

Thanks a lot for your very thorough and helpful replies. I appreciate it a lot. I still have a bit of a sore throat and my nasal passages are swollen somewhat; but all in all I am getting along pretty darn well. My neighbors brother-in-law inhaled some chlorine fumes from the same source and he couldn't breath, turned blue and had to be taken to the hospital. Luckily I guess I was out in the fresh air and had quick reactions to recap the container quickly. Thanks again, Jim

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#5

Re: Pool Chlorine tablet fume inhilation

11/26/2007 4:36 AM

This is a good illustration of what to do: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE HANDLING CHEMICALS!

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#6

Re: Pool Chlorine tablet fume inhilation

11/26/2007 7:56 AM

Your questions regarding the symptoms and the possible home remidies have been answered, but there is one thing you need to do to avoid a repeat: Don't let the chlorine tablets get wet at all. Storing chlorine tablets outside is a big problem. Putting a damp scoop back into a container of powdered pool chlorine is a bad idea as well. Not only will chlorine gas be generated in the container there is a possibility of spontaneous combustion as well.

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#8

Re: Pool Chlorine tablet fume inhilation

11/26/2007 11:33 PM

Be more careful around chemicals, friend. Next time you decide to investigate the contents of a covered bucket that has a warning sign concerning chlorine, keep in mind: 'CHLORINE can kill me'!!? Next time, take the bucket to a hazardous materials site, or call them, FIRST! Calling them would be easier for sure, read the posted signs, man. Chlorine is a very, very powerful oxidizer. You're lucky you made it out to tell us what happened to you.

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