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What is Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2)?


Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidising agent. There are products currently available which utilise this active constituent including Spa Poppits®, Baquashock® and a new product being released, Pool Magic®. Hydrogen peroxide has always been an aggressive oxidiser and is used mostly for this purpose. Some hydrogen peroxide products claim to have found a way to stabilise the hydrogen peroxide so it will remain in the water in a residual form. This would be critical if hydrogen peroxide were to be used for disinfection purposes to prevent crossinfection of swimmers.


These hydrogen peroxide products are being more aggressively advertised and marketed. How can we respond to this if we receive customer inquiries?


First of all, I would emphasise to customers that hydrogen peroxide based products are not a new concept. The concept has been available for many years but it has never been highly promoted by major chemical manufacturers due to product characteristic deficiencies and cost. Hydrogen peroxide based products perform well as oxidisers but there are many other factors which need to be considered in an effective, economical and easy pool care system. Products, of this nature, which may lay claim to being all that’s required for pool water management could prove to be both misleading and potentially damaging to swimming pools.


Secondly, it is important to know how much research and field testing has been undertaken to confirm the products performance. Far too often in our industry, products are introduced which have not been proven and do not stand the test of time. As a sanitiser, we are entrusting the health of our families on products which make bacteria control claims. I would suggest to pool owners that they might wish to wait for products to prove themselves prior to purchase. We have seen many of these over the years which has done little for the reputation of our industry and created many heartaches for pool owners and professional retailers who are left to sort out the problems. My recommendation to a customer would be to use a pool care program which has demonstrated for many years that it is a successful means by which to maintain swimming pool water and has the backing of most experienced pool professionals around the world, the BioGuard 3-Step Program.


Many companies marketing hydrogen peroxide based products suggest that their product works in a similar manner to a stream and how it is able to remain clear and fresh through the aeration of the water and the resulting injection of oxygen. It should be noted, however, that although the water remains clear, it is not necessarily safe. A stream has billion of tiny microorganisms supporting an entire ecosystem. Many of these microorganisms are harmful to us if we are infected by them. The amoeba which causes amoebic meningitis (Naeglaria fowlerii) is present in most rivers and streams despite the clarity of water.


Fourthly, we have seen claims as it relates to environmental friendly than swimming pool chlorination systems. In its packaged form, hydrogen peroxide is a very dangerous product which requires considerable care when handling and storing just as chlorine does. When administered to pool water, the product eventually reverts back to naturally occurring elements, just like chlorine. Chlorine, when found in pool water, is in the form of hypochlorous acid (HOCl). When the chlorine performs it’s function of killing bacteria or oxidising matter, it’s the oxygen content which is used. This leaves a hydrogen ion and a chloride ion left in the water which are both environmentally friendly ions. Chlorine is continually subjected to criticism as a sanitiser from non-chlorine based product manufacturers and, often, this is not warranted. We have all seen how easy and effective a chlorine system can be in treating pool water without odours and irritations to the swimmers. There are many chlorinated chemical products which are very dangerous and not environmentally friendly at all (ie. polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs) but these are not used to treat swimming pools and to group these in with the traditional pool chlorine products is not very responsible and terribly misleading.


In summary, I would suggest that there is more we need to know about the long-term performance of hydrogen peroxide. The manufacturers/founders are unknown to us so we do not have a good understanding of their research abilities or field test programs. We have seen products utilising hydrogen peroxide in the past and, depending upon the claims made, have either met or fallen below expectation.


As it relates to customer enquires about hydrogen peroxide products, the first point we should remember is that they are taking the time to seek the opinion of their local pool professional. They are interested in what you have to say! That is our first opportunity. As a result of their inquiry remember to ask them questions about the product to identify opportunities for your business. Questions like:

  • What points interested you in the product?
  • What do you think the product will be able to do for you?
  • What product are you currently using?
  • How have the results been?
  • What do you dislike about the product you are using now?

 From the responses you get from these questions, you will uncover opportunities to promote your own system of pool care or put the new product into the proper perspective.


The above information is supplied by Bio-Lab and represents its best interpretation of available technical information at the time of preparation. The sole purpose is to supply factual information to Bio-Lab customers. It is not to be taken out of context nor used as support for any other claim not made herein.