How is Aqueous Ozone used in Olympic swimming pools?

August 16, 2019

How is Aqueous Ozone used in Olympic swimming pools?

Ozone has been used as a powerful cleaner and sanitiser in public swimming pools for almost 60 years. Many people, including scientists and professional Olympic athletes, believe it is a much better and safer alternative to chlorine. The water stays clearer thanks to reduced chemicals, swimmers face less irritation with eyes, skin and respiratory issues and bacteria is killed in a matter of seconds as opposed to several hours.

In fact, it was roughly 35 years ago that ozone was first used to purify water in Olympic swimming pools. The 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles was the first reported use for Aqueous Ozone at an Olympic athlete level. Since then, many have started to realise the benefits of using ozone sanitisation over chlorine. Here are some of the facts about Aqueous Ozone, including why it is the better alternative to chlorine and how it is has historically been used in Olympic swimming pools.

Why is ozone safer than chlorine?

We’ve all experienced the ‘side effects’ of chlorine after swimming. It’s generally accepted that chlorine will cause irritation to your eyes and skin, but it’s rarely understood why. Chlorine can produce dangerous by-products called chloramines. Chloramines can get into the lungs and cause allergies as well as irritations to the skin. These irritations we experience when swimming are actually our bodies warning us about the toxicity of the chlorine. Toxins from chlorine are not only present in the water, but they are also let off into the air which can cause further irritation such as asthma and respiratory issues.

Ozone is able to kill harmful bacteria in seconds without issuing any of the harmful side-effects of chlorine. Differences documented by those swimming in ozone pools as opposed to chlorine pools include a reduction in ‘chlorine cough’ for members of staff, no skin or eye reactions and no ‘chemical’ smell in the air. It is these distinct differences that made Olympic organisers switch from using chlorine to ozone as a means of sanitisation.

The history of Ozone in Olympic swimming pools

Prior to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, ozone purification had already been used in swimming pools for roughly 25 years, and for over 100 years in water treatment plants. By the time it was introduced to Olympic games swimming pools, athlete swimmers were already aware of the benefits of ozone-treated pools, with some even refusing to compete in the Olympics unless the pools were treated with ozone and not chlorine.

In the 2000 Sydney Australia Olympics, all the pools were sanitised with ozone which led to it gaining the reputation as ‘one of the fastest pools in the world’. The athletes reported amazing clarity within the pools and none of the usual reactions such as red eyes, rashes or skin irritations.

In the 2016 Rio Olympics, the water in the pool turned green causing the organisers to pump more chlorine into the pool. This led to complaints by the U.S. swimming team as they could not see due to the incredibly high chlorine levels.

Stabilised Aqueous Ozone: the safer alternative to chemicals

Swimming pools are just one example of how Aqueous Ozone is the safer and more effective solution over toxic chemicals. Many of our clients have switched to using Tersano’s Stabilised Aqueous Ozone cleaning products for similar reasons. The impacts of using toxic chemicals to clean on a daily basis can be very similar to the side effects of chlorine. Switching to Stabilised Aqueous Ozone cleaning products reduces the likelihood of respiratory issues and skin irritations, whilst remaining a highly effective cleaner, sanitiser and deodoriser.

Find out more about Tersano Stabilised Aqueous Ozone cleaning products here:
Lotus® Pro
iClean Mini™