Using Pool and Spa Chemicals

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is the body within the Federal Government that regulates swimming and spa pool sanitisers. The APVMA has evaluated and registered a large number of such sanitisers. Recent experience with unregistered sanitisers that are based on the use of either silver or silver and copper ions together in the water has prompted the APVMA to take action on these products out of concern over their effectiveness and therefore concern over the safety of bathers. Without an effective sanitiser, swimming and spa pools can transmit very serious disease organisms. In July 2004, the APVMA released new guidelines for demonstrating the efficacy of new types of pool sanitisers.

Some people have also expressed concern over the safety of chlorine, a traditional water sanitiser. Chlorine can cause unwanted disinfection by-products to be produced from reaction with organic matter present in the water. The APVMA and Australian health experts agree with other international health experts and bodies such as the World Health Organisation that any possible risks from chlorine disinfection by-products are extremely small and completely overshadowed by the necessity of protection from hazardous microorganisms.

For more information see the APVMA’s position on health concerns arising from use of chlorine to sanitise water.

Information for Pool and Spa Registrants

The Listable Chemical Product (Home swimming pool & spa products) Standard 2007 (the Standard) has commenced. Applications for listed registration of a chemical product complying with the Standard are assessed under Category 9 of AgMORAG. Applicants are not required to submit a draft label for approval for Category 9 applications. 

Swimming pool & spa product labels prepared in accordance with the label formats included in Schedules 1 through 7 of the Standard (as appropriate to active constituent and formulation type) may be acceptable for submission for categories other than Cat 9 applications. Please check with the Pesticides Contact Officer if you have any queries in relation to the applicability of the Standard labels. 

Certain minor administrative changes to approved labels are allowable without submission of draft labels. Please refer to Permit 6868 to ascertain the scope of those allowable changes.

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Information for Pool and Spa Owners

The APVMA has previously warned owners of pools and spas to make sure, for health reasons, that when using water sanitising devices based on silver or silver and copper, they should also use registered pool chemicals containing chlorine or bromine.

Pool and Spa Safety

Please see information about pool and spa safety.

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