The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued an alarming report about public pools in the U.S.
Summer is right around the corner, and like many Americans, you may be preparing for some fun in the pool. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, you may want to use caution when diving into your favorite swimming hole – a shocking number of pools and hot tubs have been closed due to “serious health and safety violations.”
The findings, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, reveal a number of real risks facing people using swimming pools. Regular inspection of these facilities can help prevent diseases, lower the risk of drowning and injuries associated with pool chemicals.
According to Beth Bell, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, “No one should get sick or hurt when visiting a public pool, hot tub, or water playground. That’s why public health and aquatics professionals work togetyher to improve the operation and maintenance of these public places so people will be healthy and safe when they swim.”
CDC researchers examined data from 84,187 routine inspections of 48,632 public pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds in the states of Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas. They found that a whopping 80 percent of public water venues had at least one violation, and 1 in 8 inspections led to the immediate closure due to a serious health and safety violation. Not surprisingly, kiddie and wading pools had the highest rate of closure – nearly 1 in 5.
The study showed that the most common infractions were related to an improper pH in the water, safety equipment, and the concentration of chemicals used to disinfect the water.
According to Michele Hlavsa, the chief of the CDC’s Healthy swimming program, “Environmental health practitioners, or public health inspectors, play a very important role in protecting public health. However, almost one third of local health departments do not regulate, inspect, or license public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds. We should all check for inspection results online or on site before using public pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds and do our own inspection before getting into the water.”
A press release from the CDC describing the state of the nation’s pools can be found here.