Summer is here, and many have started to seek out public pools. But some may not take a dip after reading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on the condition of 49,000 pools in five states. Eighty percent of pools in Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas have at least one health code violation.
CDC: Data shows violations found in 80 percent of public pools inspected in AZ & other states, 1 in 8 had to close. https://t.co/Pm26xIryT7
— ABC15 Arizona (@abc15) May 20, 2016
— WebMD (@WebMD) May 21, 2016
There are, however, precautions that can be taken to make swimming safer for all. Federal health officials are urging parents to inspect their local pools during the week of May 23 through 29, Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. Dr. Beth Bell of the CDC said, “No one should get sick or hurt when visiting a public pool, hot tub, or water playground.” The CDC states that swimmers should buy test strips from pool-supply stores to check whether the free-chlorine and bromine concentrations are at safe levels.
Per the CDC, water in public pools and hot tubs should test at specific levels, noted AZ Central.
“According to the CDC, the body of water should have a free-chlorine concentration of at least 1 part-per-million in pools and 3 parts-per-million in hot tubs; a bromine concentration of at least 3 parts-per-million in pools and 4 parts-per-million in hot tubs; and a pH level between 7.2 and 7.8. “
For added safety measures, the CDC advises swimmers to do the following:
- Make to see if the drain at the bottom of the deep end of the pool is in view
- Check to see if the drain cover is secure and in good condition
- Determine if a lifeguard is on duty
- If lifeguard isn’t present, make sure rescue ring, rope, or pole is near
— TOWN&COUNTRY (@TandCmag) May 24, 2016
States that have the most public pools throughout the nations are the ones that were tested, and the 80 percent figure is based on 84,000 aquatic inspections in the five states. Additionally, the study revealed that equipment safety posed a problem. Twelve percent of inspections found violations with life-saving equipment, which could pose a drowning risk, per Pix 11 News.
According to the CDC, the risk of infection is minimized when pools are drained and cleaned. Debris should also be removed from the water. There’s also a reason pool staff ask people to shower before taking a dip: it makes the pool more sanitary by decreasing infection from human waste, added Pix 11 News. Simple steps such as taking a shower and making sure children use the bathroom before swimming make public pools better for everyone.
Public pools are so gross https://t.co/zFKXDg5TMf
— New York Post (@nypost) May 21, 2016
Pee Is the Least of Your Problems at Most Public Pools https://t.co/ccy75L1Ns7pic.twitter.com/7dtqWmd69U
— Cosmopolitan (@Cosmopolitan) May 23, 2016
National standards are now in place for the operation and maintenance of public water parks and pools. The CDC created the Model Aquatic Health Code. However, it doesn’t appear that all regions and cities are adopting these scientifically based preventive practices. This isn’t stopping the CDC from moving forward with the second version of the code, which will be released during the summer of 2016.
Despite all the bad news about public pools, the study was limited to states that get the most swimmers in the summer. The CDC tips on testing can add to the security of each family and the overall public. It is recommended that if violations are found, pool administrators should be informed so they can be fixed. Until that’s done, find another pool.
[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty]