Explosion risk from swimming pool chlorinators and review of chlorine toxicity

J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1995;33(4):349-54. doi: 10.3109/15563659509028921.


Two patients were admitted to the hospital emergency room in respiratory distress after an accidental explosion involving chlorinating agents for the swimming pool. The two primary agents involved were calcium hypochlorite and trichloro-s-triazinetrione; both are commonly used chlorinating agents. These chemicals were tested in a bomb apparatus measuring temperature and gas production. Combining the two chlorinators at 2, 6, 12, or 18 g of each produced a progressive increase in gas production from 234 to 1422 mL. The temperature increased from 30 degrees C at 2 g to 63 degrees C at 18 g. The time to complete the reaction decreased from 6.2 minutes at 2 g to 3.8 minutes at 18 g. The third run at the 18 g level resulted in an explosion. The results indicate that gas generation is dependent on both products. The addition of organic material was abandoned because of the explosive nature of the reaction. The amount of calcium hypochlorite primarily determines the rate of reaction and heat generation. Appropriate emergency action and treatment for chlorine gas is discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Calcium Compounds / adverse effects
  • Calcium Compounds / toxicity
  • Chlorine / adverse effects*
  • Chlorine / toxicity*
  • Disinfectants / toxicity
  • Drug Synergism
  • Explosions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Swimming Pools / standards*
  • Triazines / adverse effects*
  • Triazines / toxicity*


  • Calcium Compounds
  • Disinfectants
  • Triazines
  • calcium hypochlorite
  • Chlorine
  • symclosene