The Peanut Problem

There I was at a water care training course, and the instructors were discussing the topic of ‘Bather Wastes.”  They were explaining how the 1-3ppm of chlorine level was established as the safe range to kill off contaminants that are present in pool and hot tub water.  This information was valuable to learn but wasn’t what I would consider, memorable.  That is, until someone put up their hand and asked a very simple question:

What are some examples bather wastes?

The instructor was a little hesitant to answer the question directly.  Now everyone there was captivated and we prodded a bit more as a class.  So, the instructor said, “Fine, if you really want to know I’ll tell you.  But, once I do you will never be able to forget it?”

I will also reiterate that to you who are reading this.  Stop here if you don’t want to know, cause it’s true, once you know you won’t forget.


Ok, you’ve been warned.

Here we go.

Bather waste includes the following:

  • Dead skin cells
  • Hair
  • Cosmetics/Soaps
  • Sweat/Urine (chemically almost identical)
  • Bodily fluids (up to 1 Pint from an adult in 20mins of Hot Tub use)

Not too bad, right.  Here’s the kicker:

  • A peanut sized amount of fecal matter

That’s right, an adult human on average has a peanut sized amount of fecal matter on their body at all times. (just to clarify, peanut refers to the nut only, not the outer shell, that would be…nuts)

You’re never going to forget that are you?

I thought long and hard about whether to share this info with the public on this blog.  But I wanted to tell you the truth about everything related to hot tub and pool water care I have learned.  My reason for sharing this is in the hope that it helps you understand the importance of proper water sanitation.

I often have conversations with customers about sanitation and many have stated, “I don’t like to use that much chlorine/bromine.”  To which I respond, “you don’t know about the peanut do you?”

If you think about, the amount recommended for hot tubs and pools isn’t that much anyway.  1-3ppm.  That is 1-3 parts per million.  Or in other terms, 1-3 milliliters per liter or 1-3mg/kg of water.  Enough math.  It’s a tiny amount.

When you really stop to consider what that small amount can protect you from it really changes your perspective on it.  It protects you and your loved ones from, not only all the bather wastes listed above, including everyone’s peanut, but also from other harmful water borne pathogens like cryptosporidium and giardia.  That small amount acts like a super-hero instead of a super-villian.  peanut obit

We could call it.


Maybe not.

In a future article I’ll discuss some common myths about chlorine and some products and equipment you can use to assist the chlorine/bromine in cleaning your water.  We’ll call them,                  ‘the sidekicks.’

Thanks for reading.


How about some chemical soup?

I never heard the expression, ‘chemical soup,’ until I began working in the pool and hot tub industry.  I now know it’s a bad expression, a taboo thing to say, and what all pool and hot tub owners are trying to avoid; especially hot tub owners.  I think it’s because hot tubs often look like a big steamy bowl of soup. images

There is nothing scary about soup, but put the word ‘chemical’ in front of it and suddenly people’s eyes jump out of their heads.  I have heard many many customers talk at length about this fear and how it has lead them to not using chlorine or bromine anymore and instead opting for “something safer like hydrogen peroxide.”  (trust me, that is a way scarier thing to use)

This is such a delicate topic to discuss with people because it has to do with their health, and the health of their families.  I completely understand this.  Our industry completely understands this, and has been preaching proper water sanitization for decades.

Back to the question.  Is a hot tub a chemical soup?


Here is an explanation of what a chemical is:

“Chemical substances are often called ‘pure’ to set them apart from mixtures. A common example of a chemical substance is pure water; it has the same properties and the same ratio of hydrogen to oxygen whether it is isolated from a river or made in a laboratory. Other chemical substances commonly encountered in pure form are diamond (carbon), gold, table salt (sodium chloride) and refined sugar (sucrose). However, simple or seemingly pure substances found in nature can in fact be mixtures of chemical substances. For example, tap water may contain small amounts of dissolved sodium chloride and compounds containing iron, calcium and many other chemical substances.”

Water, salt, sugar, gold, and even diamonds are all chemical in naOXX-312-AQture.  A chemical soup like that wouldn’t be anything scary.  In fact, I know many women would be fine with a hot tub full of gold and diamonds.

In my experience, this fear of a chemical soup all comes from the use of two chemicals.

Chlorine and Bromine.

These chemicals have been vilified as evil substances that cause cancer.  When in reality, when used as the recommended dosage rate of 1-3ppm (parts per million) they not only don’t cause cancer, but instead, act as highly effectively sanitizers that clean the water of many viruses, bacteria, and pathogens that are extremely harmful to humans.  Not using them is way scarier than using them.

It’s true chlorine can be harmful.  But it all has to do with dosage.  Chlorine gas and mustard gas are very harmful to humans, even deadly.  But that is almost a pure dosage of chlorine.  Many substances are harmful or deadly in high dosages, even oxygen.  And yet, at the right dosage it allows us to breath and live.

No one would stop breathing because the air has some oxygen in it, and so it is true with chlorine or bromine.  In fact, properly sanitized hot tub water is often cleaner than tap water.

So, now that you know the ingredients in hot tub water, enjoy it as the safe and clean chemical soup that it really is.peanut

In a future article I will explain further why I would never get in a pool or hot tub with less than 1ppm chlorine.  (Hint: the reason involves a peanut)

Thanks for reading.