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Why is there a chlorine shortage? Here’s what summer swimmers should know

Good news: Your hair may not turn green this summer. Bad news: Another shortage is looming.

Why is there a chlorine shortage? Here’s what summer swimmers should know
[Photo: cottonbro/Pexels]
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You may not have to worry about your hair turning green from pool water this year.

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That’s because there’s a chlorine shortage.

You don’t have to deflate your floaties quite yet, though. Here’s what you need to know:

Why is this happening?

The biggest reason is a major supplier’s plant in Louisiana was damaged by a fire during Hurricane Laura last summer. That means there’s less chlorine available for purchase.

Is COVID-19 to blame too?

Yes. As with many of the other shortages that have inconvenienced people since the start of the pandemic last March (such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and boba tea), demand outpaced supply. With more people looking to entertain themselves at home during the summer comes more folks buying pools and everything needed for their upkeep. Do you remember the run on wading pools and patio furniture last year?

Why do pools need chlorine anyway?

The chemical is used to kill germs in the water that otherwise could make swimmers sick, such as E. coli, hepatitis A, and the giardia parasite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends a pH of 7.2–7.8 and a free chlorine concentration of at least 1 part per million in pools and at least 3 ppm in hot tubs and spas.