|MadSci Network: Chemistry|
Swimming pool water looks clean and clear when there are few organisms capable of growing in the water. This is generally done in two ways: (1) controlling the pH with the right combination of acid and base and (2) using a disinfectant that will control bacteria and other organisms. Generally, chlorine is used in swimming pools. Sometimes bromine, another noble gas, is used in hot tubs and smaller pools of water. Copper sulfate (aka cupric sulfate) has many uses, but it is primarily used as an antifungal agent. In other words it inhibits the growth of fungi. Here in the Pacific Northwest, where I live, strips of copper sulfate are put on roofs to inhibit the growth of moss. As it rains, copper is leached from the strip and prevents moss from growing. Copper sulfate is very toxic. It is a very strong irritant to skin and mucous membranes. If ingested it can affect blood cells, liver and other internal organs. Copper sulfate is most often used in agricultural products. Small amounts can be found in children's chemistry sets. As far as your pool goes, not at all recommended. For a clean, clear pool, there are many products specifically designed to be used safely to accomplish that goal.
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