Swimming Pools – The CDC Speaks Out About The Chemical Dangers Of A Summertime Favorite

Swimming pools and summer in America go together like peanut butter and jelly. Whether it’s a personal indoor or outdoor swimming pool, whether it’s a city swimming pool, or whether its one of thousands of water parks located all across the United States, families fleeing the summer heat via a swimming pool in one form or another is commonplace.

And it could be deadly.

Deadly Swimming Pools
[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

According to the Centers for Disease Control, swimming pools of all sorts are more dangerous than ever.

In the new report just issued by the CDC, some of the violations include problems with disinfectant concentrations and improper pH levels. The report goes on to say that over 80 percent of all pools inspected in the United States end up with at least one violation when inspected, and over 20 percent of those pools — usually wading and kiddie swimming pools — are shut down as a result. Why? The CDC says that improperly maintained pools can lead to “disability or even death.”

The reports from the CDC on swimming pools and water parks seem to get worse every year. Last year, the CDC issued warnings about swimmers getting red eyes and skin irritation from swimming pools due to bodily fluids – usually urine – mixing with chlorine in the water. And it is not just the water in swimming pools that can affect swimmers adversely. When the harmful substances in the water increase, they end up moving up into the air and are breathed in by swimmers. When these substances are breathed in, they can result in a variety of symptoms ranging from simple nausea to lung issues.

So what states are the most egregious offenders when it comes to nasty swimming pools? The CDC is calling out Florida, New York, Arizona, California and Texas, saying that these are the states where swimming pools and water parks are most popular. The leading issue in most of these swimming pools and water parks is a parasite called Cryptosporidium, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. The report continued, stating that almost a third of local health departments across the United States do not inspect, regulate or license public swimming pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds. Michele Hlavsa, the chief of the CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program said in a statement that all swimmers should go online to check inspection results before using any public swimming pool or water park.

deadly swimming pools
[Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]

So what can be done to prevent all this sickness resulting from swimming pools? According to many experts, the first step comes from the swimmers themselves. A shower should always be taken before using a public swimming pool, not just after. Additionally, no one should ever use a public swimming pool if they are sick, especially if they have been suffering from diarrhea.

Additionally, if you are sufficiently freaked out by the possible risk of contracting an illness by using a public pool, there are test kits you can purchase to pre-check a swimming pool’s pH, chlorine and/or bromine concentration of the water in a pool before you enter it. The kit will indicate the proper levels of the chemicals used to fight organisms in the water, and then you can check to make sure that there are not too many or too little in the swimming pool.

So, this summer, when you and your family are thinking about taking an afternoon trip to the local public swimming pool, or maybe thinking about spending a leisurely week or weekend at the resort with all the water slides, perhaps it might be wise to think about the new swimming pool report just issued by the CDC.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)