Georgetown business aims to change pool industry
Dan Lee, the CEO of SpectraLight Technologies, grew up swimming in an average residential pool that was cleaned with the typical cleaning product: chlorine. He kept the tradition alive in his family, raising his daughter with a pool in his backyard.
While at a college reunion in the early '90s, Lee began discussing the risks of chlorine with a friend. He began researching the effects chlorine has on the body, and many of the statistics he found made the hair on the back of his neck stand up, he said.
"I raised my daughter in a pool, and she's 31 now, and I know scientifically that my daughter now has almost a 70 percent greater chance of developing bladder cancer by the time she's 40 because her dad was ignorant to the fact that these chemicals had some long-term implications on health," Lee said.
He began to research how ultraviolet light could be used to kill organisms in swimming pools as an alternative to chemicals. Although not a scientist himself, he set up consultations with professionals involved in the water purification industry and found Dr. James Bolton, an expert on ultraviolent disinfection, in the process.
"He was instrumental in helping us understand how unbelievably effective ultraviolet is in disinfecting pathogens," Lee said.
Lee launched SpectraLight Technologies in 2008 with a silent partner and introduced the SpectraLight Ultraviolet Pool System, which uses UV light to clean pool water.
"The beautiful thing about the ultraviolet is that it doesn't add anything to the water, the water goes through and comes out essentially the same as it went in, all that was done was to inactivate all the microorganisms that were present," Bolton said. "In the case of swimming pools, it's very nice, it just gets rid of the nasty bugs that are causing disease."
SpectraLight's product, the Ultraviolet Pool Sanitizer, pumps pool water through a wet chamber where UV light rays sanitize the water and air. The UV light rays break up the DNA or RNA of organisms such as viruses, bacteria and algae and make it so they cannot reproduce, Lee said. The light rays get rid of the harmful organic matter without the use of chlorine, which eliminates the formation of chlorine byproducts, such as chloramines and oxidized chlorine, which can become carcinogens, he said.
"You can realistically reduce your toxic levels of chemicals in the water by like
90 percent," Lee said. "You can get it down to tap water level —what we shower in—no red eyes, no itchy skin."
The company now sells to more than 200 dealers throughout the United States, and some well-known individuals have purchased SpectraLight products, including British business magnate Richard Branson and music producer Quincy Jones, Lee said. The U.S. Navy also selected SpectraLight UV for its Marine Mammal program to make water safer for dolphins.
"We're not going to conquer the world because the chemical industry is, quite frankly, big and powerful. Mentioning us to them is like holding up a cross in front of Dracula.," Lee said. "No, we're not going to change the world, but I can do it one backyard at a time."
SpectraLight Technologies , 2520 Shell Road, Ste. A, 888-895-7080, www.spectrapool.com