Pristine Blue

The Pool Wizard, Nature2, the Frog and other mineral systems for
simpler pool care. Non-chlorine Pristine Blue, Rainforest Blue and similar.
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Pristine Blue

Postby pooldude » Sat 28 Feb, 2009 12:03

Anyone use Pristine Blue? They say it's 100% chlorine free and has all the necessary certifications.

I'm thinking of getting away from chlorine but am a little hesitant due to my ignorance and lack of experience.


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Pristine Blue

Postby chem geek » Sat 28 Feb, 2009 13:35

The sanitation and algae prevention in Pristine Blue comes from copper sulfate, so copper ions. Copper is not a fast-acting sanitizer. It kills bacteria even more slowly than silver ions and that's far slower than chlorine. It is very ineffective against viruses though it is good at preventing algae growth. It is therefore unsuitable by itself for preventing transmission of disease from person-to-person which is why such systems are not used in commercial/public pool environments.

As for the certification, the product contains copper sulfate that is an EPA approved pesticide since it does kill algae, but it is NOT certified as a Swimming Pool Water Disinfectant since it would not pass the stringent tests, especially the laboratory test. The NSF/ANSI Standard 60 is just a drinking water standard for safety and says nothing about disinfection rates. It is deceitful for Pristine Blue to use the EPA registration and NSF/ANSI Standard 60 to imply anything about disinfection.

There are only 3 EPA DIS/TSS-12 approved disinfectants: chlorine, bromine and biguanide/PHMB/Baqua. In addition, it appears that silver ion used in conjunction with higher levels of non-chlorine shock (monopersulfate, MPS) are approved, but only at high spa temperatures (i.e. not for pools). That's it. Metal ion systems, ozone, UV, etc. are NOT approved as standalone disinfectants and they cannot use such wording (i.e. disinfectant) on their labeling. All such systems must use a supplemental EPA-approved disinfectant to pass DIS/TSS-12.

Now, that said, it's all a spectrum of risk and the risk is far lower in water containing metal ions than water having none. The main concern that DIS/TSS-12 addresses is preventing disease transmission from person-to-person in commercial/public pool situations since one sick individual can spread disease to many if the water is not disinfected appropriately. In a residential situation, simply controlling bacteria growth helps a lot. But as I say, it's a spectrum of risk and only the pool/spa owner can decide the appropriate level of risk they are willing to take.

Also, see my post here for more information on the publicized issues with chlorine pools.

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Pristine Blue

Postby Larry » Sat 28 Feb, 2009 15:27

Thanks for this great post Richard

I have been aware of Pristine Blue for several years, though my dealings with chlorine-free pools has been very limited. Our regional distributor has always tried to sell me on the "only halogen-free EPA approved disinfectant" line. I have even been presented with copies of EPA and NSF certification documents that purportedly back up the distributors sales pitch.

I only have one pool using Pristine Blue, an indoor heated pool. The pool is intermittently opened to groups of children for recreation and is only used by 2-3 swimmers per day most of the time. I have found that the pool responds well to a chlorine shock treatment every 2 weeks, and weekly when the kids come to swim. The best part of the pool is that since converting from chlorine, the absence of chloramines (and the chlorine smell) has made the pool better for the swimmers. I think I need to reevaluate the pool and consider a more regular chlorination program based on the information you have given.

Your post has opened my eyes.
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Pristine Blue

Postby Me... » Sat 28 Feb, 2009 15:37

noob

Pristine Blue

Postby noob » Sat 28 Feb, 2009 18:12

Great find Me... I never thought ozone could be so effective.

This thread has really opened my eyes :thumbup:
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Pristine Blue

Postby Me... » Sat 28 Feb, 2009 22:15

Ozone is the one of the best things you can do for a pool or spa. Unfortunately some of the fantastic things you read about the benefits can not be done for $100. Or even $200. A small UV Ozone generator tucked under the skirt on your Hot Tub can be quite beneficial but all too often people are expecting or led to expect the benefits it would take a multi thousand dollar system to achieve.

UV systems are another good thing but you should have 100% flow through them and the flows through the units are often 2-3 times what they should be and so it too can get some bad knocks. I remember electric heaters that were rated for 5-10 gpm and had 30 gpm or more going through them. Small wonder the elements or probe wells were quite often shot in short order or the heater didn't seem to be very efficient. Copper/Silver Ion systems are also slipstream systems and they get plumbed into the main lines and are exposed to extreme flowrates which erode the electrodes swiftly instead of allowing a small current to blow off electrons slowly.
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Pristine Blue

Postby chem geek » Sun 01 Mar, 2009 04:13

Note that chlorine is still used in the systems that use ozone (or UV, for that matter). The Free Chlorine (FC) level is lower at 0.2 to 0.4 ppm or so, but remember that's with no CYA in the water. Technically speaking, this is identical in active chlorine (hypochlorous acid) concentration to around 4 to 6.5 ppm FC with 20 ppm CYA. This only validates the point I was making of the foolishness of using no CYA in indoor pools (using too much CYA is also a problem).

The problem with using the low chlorine level with no CYA is that it does not provide a buffer of chlorine in case there is a strong chlorine demand locally in the water, such as that from a urinary discharge that can often happen with children in the water. If the chlorine gets used up, then there is no disinfection to prevent person-to-person transmission.

The main purpose of the ozone is to provide further oxidation. It does not prevent chloramine formation, per se, but the lower active chlorine concentration helps there. I'm just saying that one can have the lower active chlorine concentration by using some CYA, independent of whether you supplement with ozone or not. More technical detail about this, at least with regard to nitrogen trichloride which is an irritating disinfection by-product potentially indicated in the respiratory and ocular problems is here .

I'm not saying that ozone or UV aren't helpful -- they are -- but rather that what is obscured is that it is the high active chlorine concentration that may have been a primary source of the problem.



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Pristine Blue

Postby chem geek » Sun 01 Mar, 2009 04:54

Larry wrote:Our regional distributor has always tried to sell me on the "only halogen-free EPA approved disinfectant" line. I have even been presented with copies of EPA and NSF certification documents that purportedly back up the distributors sales pitch.

Can you take a look at the EPA documents to see if it's simply registered as a pesticide or it is really registered a swimming pool disinfectant (under DIS/TSS-12)? This link is the EPA page on data submitters for pesticides and this link is to the data submitters list. Earth Science Laboratories that sells PristineBlue isn't listed, but they probably piggy-back their registration with the "copper sulfate task force" that is listed and you should be able to search for the registration number in any event. Companies often pool together to get EPA registration since it is an expensive process -- they then only need to demonstrate that they are using the same chemical and instructions for use as one already registered and to show that they meet labeling requirements. Again, this is not for registration as a swimming pool disinfectant, but rather as a pesticide which is a far easier certification -- there is no specific efficacy requirement -- pesticide registration is mostly to prevent misuse and that they do not pose undue risk to people and the environment.

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Pristine Blue

Postby chem geek » Sun 01 Mar, 2009 04:55

Sorry for the multiple replies, but I got a message that there is a maximum of 3 URLs allowed in a post.

One MSDS for Pristine Blue is here ([EDIT] that link is dead, but this one seems to work [END-EDIT]). This article is pretty good at explaining alternatives to chlorine and how ones like metal ions don't kill pathogens quickly in the bulk pool water while others such as UV and ozone don't leave a residual for killing pathogens at all. The most notable point is that the manufacturers/distributors of these products aren't always up-front about how they cannot be used without chlorine (at least they cannot legally claim to be a disinfectant).

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Pristine Blue

Postby Me... » Sun 01 Mar, 2009 11:22

I don't really think lowering the FC to .2 is feasible exactly for the bathload reasoning. In fact the Health Board here will only allow .5 if it is a proper CD Ozone system. The amount of chlorine at 1.5ppm consumed with good Ozonation will be substantially less anyways. Which means less acid and therefore less Bicarb etc.

Ozone is devastating to chloramines but of course only in the contact chamber because with slipstream systems we don't really aim to have Ozone out in the Pool. Chem Geek will have the lingo for chlorine in various forms as the water goes through the various pH changes, but Ozone will more readily attack the chlorine in the forms it takes at higher pH levels. Hence the need to keep pH under control, which is easier if the system works well and keeps chlorine use to a minimum. So if you have a too powerful Ozone system combined with too small a contact chamber and a high pH pool, you stand a good chance of actually raising chorine consumption.

And, if you follow with the guideline that .2ppm combined is the upper limit, and that it takes 10 times the FC to destroy the combined chlorine, then it follows that a 2 ppm FC reading will theoretically be getting rid of the combined chlorine 24/7. Therefore whatever the system, if the combined are always a problem, keep raising the FC until they stop. Once you find your pools threshold you should be able to start lowering the FC until the combined become an issue again.

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