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Pool Chemical Explosion

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Pool Chemical Explosion

Pool Chemicals Fire




Areas of Expertise

Michael Fox, PhD.



Pool Chemical Explosion

During an investigation of a pool chemical explosion that caused a significant loss of vision due to chemical eye burns, Chemaxx discovered the explosive incompatibility of two seemingly very similar pool chemical products:

Calcium Hypochlorite or Ca(OCl)2


Trichlor or Trichloro-s-triazinetrione

Since both products are sold as a form of "pool chlorine," consumers most likely would not expect them to be incompatible with each other and might even consider them to be the same pool chemical product.

The video below demonstrates the incompatible, explosive nature of a dry mixture of these two forms of "pool chlorine" after a small amount of water was added. The first explosion occurred within less that one minute of the water being added.

Video 1- Press play button

In other tests, another form of "pool chlorine" generally referred to as Dichlor was also shown to be explosively incompatible with calcium hypochlorite.

Consumers need to be aware that these seemingly similar pool chemical products are explosively incompatible. Chemaxx believes that short of drastic measures, the ordinary consumer is not likely to appreciate the full seriousness of the hazard via conventional warnings.

It is unfortunate that the pool chemical industry sells these two explosively incompatible chemicals side-by-side in retail outlets.

Photograph of Incompatible "Pool Chlorine" Products Side-by-Side on Retail Shelf

Until that changes, it is recommended that consumers purchase only one type of "pool chlorine" to avoid even having the two different types available at their homes. It is further recommended that when pool chemicals are purchased, single-shot packaging should be used to avoid having large quantities of unused, exposed, granular chemicals that might be easily contaminated or co-mingled.

Pool chemicals should never be mixed with any other pool chemical, pool product or any product or substance of any type and should always be added directly to the pool water without any intermediate steps, such as mixing or predissolving in water. If Trichlor must be used, the slow dissolving Trichlor tablets placed inside floaters is the recommended approach.

If a chemical feeder or floater is used, only one type of pool chemical product should ever be put into that feeder or floater. If for some reason more than one type of chemical is needed, the use of separate, distinct feeders or floaters for each chemical is recommended.

Protective goggles, gloves and clothing should be worn when handling pool chemicals.

If a consumer has any doubts about how to handle, apply, store or care for pool chemicals, it is recommended that he/she hire a professional pool maintenance company.

Dr. Fox has his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry and is a Certified Fire & Explosion Investigator with substantial experience investigating complex industrial chemical accidents, fires and explosions as well as chemical-related consumer product accidents, fires and explosions. He is also a Certified Team Leader in OSHA Process Hazard Analysis.