Chlorine deficiency has occurred ahead of the summer swimming season.

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An surge in swimming pool use as a result of the pandemic and a massive plant fire has resulted in a widespread chlorine crisis as people prepare their pools for the summer, according to scientists.

The shortfall followed an unexpected increase in demand last year as people were forced to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a massive fire at BioLab’s plant in Louisiana last August, which is one of the country’s major suppliers of chlorine tablets, according to CNBC. The factory, located near Lake Charles, Louisiana, is scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2022.

The plant had been evacuated for Hurricane Laura, so employees were not harmed in the fire, BioLab’s parent company, KIK Consumer Products, confirmed at the time.

“We started buying early, way early, and stockpiled as much as we could,” Allan Curtis, whose maintenance business, Ask the Pool Guy, services 1,000 customers in Howell, Mich., told CNBC. “We won’t last more than probably mid-May, or late May, and we’ll be out of chlorine.”

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Jessica Storts, manager of Capitol Pools, told WRAL News that pool sales rose 500% from 2019 to 2020, and it’s even busier this year, adding that the chlorine tablets are essential to sanitizing pools.

“You’ve got contact dermatitis, folliculitis, Legionnaires Disease,” Storts added. “You’ve got pinkeye, sinus infections, ear infections. All of those are signs that the water chemistry is not right in the pool.”

According to financial services firm IHS Markit, chlorine prices are forecast to climb 70% this summer, and have already doubled in some areas of the world over the past year, according to CNBC.

Pool specialists advised CNBC to not use a pool until it is safe and clear; to call local pool professionals to consider options, such as saltwater pools; to maintain regular maintenance; to shower before swimming; and to not allow dogs in the pool.

 

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