Safe storage of spa chemicals – a boring topic? Not so ~ it has all of the elements of a Shakespearean tragedy, only without all of the hard to follow old English tongue.
The horrible tragedy is that nearly 5000 people visit hospital rooms every year – after a pool or spa chemical dust or gas exposure, according to the CDC. In 2007, Poison control centers nationwide reported nearly 10,000 calls regarding human exposures to a pool or aquarium chemical.
Here’s how to keep yourself and your family safe, from seemingly harmless spa chemicals.
KEEP THEM DRY
Hot Tub chemicals are soluble in water, and are made to react with water, of course. When your spa chemicals absorb moisture from any source, they begin to react, and break down. This can produce toxic fumes and violent reactions. And when the liquid is not water, but some seemingly harmless beverage or household product, the reaction can be much worse.
- Always screw on childproof lids tightly, until they click. Chemicals with loose lids absorb humidity.
- Keep your spa chemicals in a dry, water tight container.
- Always store dry chemicals above liquid chemicals.
- Never use a wet scoop in a large container.
- Always store your spa chemicals in a dry location, low humidity and 50-75° F.
KEEP THEM OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN
A good number of spa and hot tub chemical accidents involve children under the age of 14. Ingestion, inhalation or irritation from pool and spa chemicals.
The best way to protect children from pool or spa chemicals, is to keep them out of their reach. Spa chemicals don’t take up as much room as pool chemicals, and are easy to keep in a sturdy, locking storage container, or in a shelf that is mounted high up on the wall.
Please don’t put your spa chemicals in the flip-up spa step storage area, or other cabinet or container that is accessible. If you want to keep your spa chemicals from being discovered by a curious child, place them out of reach, at least 48″ off the ground. A sturdy locking container, as mentioned earlier, can be used if you don’t have a high cabinet.
KEEP THEM SEPARATED
Mixing incompatible spa chemicals is the number one cause of emergency room visits, according to this chemical safety alert. But it’s not just mixing spa chemicals with other spa chemicals – it’s also contamination caused by beverages, household chemicals, dirt, leaves, even dust.
- Store liquids near ground level; never store liquids above dry spa chemicals.
- Always use dedicated spa chemical scoops, one for each chemical.
- Store sanitizers like shock and bromine away from acids like pH down.
- Store hot tub chemicals in their original container only.
- Keep your spa chemicals completely separate from all other substances.
- Always open and add only one chemical at a time to your spa or hot tub.
Please don’t put your spa chemicals underneath the spa skirt. Chemicals need cool and dry storage, and shocks and sanitizers can gas off, rusting metal spa components. As mentioned before, the best storage is in a lockable waterproof cabinet or container, or in an indoor or outdoor cabinet located 48″ off the ground.
KEEP THEM CLEAN
Contamination can occur from just a few small flecks of dirt, or tiny pieces of a leaf, or a few drops of ANY liquid – can be enough to slowly generate enough heat, and in 2-3 minutes (after you’ve left the area), to start a chemical fire.
Be sure that you always store spa chemicals in a clean and dry location, and NEVER place spilled spa chemicals back into the container. Sweep it up and add it to the spa water, or dispose of properly.
BE THE EXPERT
For spa chemical safety, make one person responsible for the spa or hot tub chemicals. This one person should know what every chemical is and what it does, in addition to practicing safe handling and storage. Don’t pass around the duty – the only person touching the spa chemicals, is you. Or someone else – but just one person, OK?
READ THE LABEL
Spa chemical labels are changing, requiring more safety information, in an easier to use format. Look for Instructions for Use, Precautionary Statements, Active Ingredients and other useful information, even First Aid information. The CDC recommends that you read the entire label before using spa or hot tub chemicals, for dosage and treatment information, and for reference during an emergency.
ROTATE YOUR STOCK
Spa chemicals do have a shelf life that varies between 1-5 years, depending on the chemical. If you can no longer read the label, then use up the chemical, or dispose of it properly. If you can’t or don’t want to use it in your spa, see your local landfill website for guidance on disposal procedures for old pool or spa chemicals. They may accept it at their facility. Don’t hold onto old unused chemicals. Rotate your stock.
Hot Tub Works