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Chemicals used in pool maintenance sicken hotel guests

When residents of Fairfax City plan a relaxing vacation there is a good chance that the establishment where they choose to stay will have a swimming pool. For many, the terms pool and vacation go hand-in-hand. When booking a reservation at one of these establishments it is likely that the visitor will assume that the pool is safe for use, even if a lifeguard is not onsite. This unfortunately could be an incorrect assumption.

Recently, there was an issue at a hotel pool located in another state. The combination of chemicals used to treat the water to make it safe, produced ammonium chloride which can cause a range or respiratory problems including damage to one’s lungs. Firefighters specifically trained to deal with the chemicals used to maintain a pool were called in and after first clearing the area, removed those chemicals.

Despite those efforts, the mist or gas produced after combining muriatic acid (or a similar chemical) with chlorine sent 18 people to the hospital. The severity of the injuries they suffered is not clear.

Depending on the severity of the injuries, it is possible that the hotel where the issue with the pool occurred could face premises liability lawsuits. To be successful, the individuals bringing such a lawsuit would need to show that negligent actions on the part of the establishment led to their injuries. If successful, they would receive monetary damages.

The Vice President of a pool and spa company said that even with proper training it is easy to how the chemicals could accidentally be combined. Assuming this is true, it is possible that such an incident could occur at a hotel or resort in Virginia as well.

Source:, "Chemicals required to make pools safe can also be dangerous," Joel Allen, Sept. 24, 2013

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