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CDC Issues Warning About Public Pools

Posted on May 25, 2010

The federal government is issuing a warning about public pools this summer. About 314 million visit pools in the summer months and in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weekly report, CDC researchers find that one out of every eight pools inspected in 13 states two years ago had to be closed for serious code violations.

The violations included improper pH levels and disinfectant which can cause norovirus, Shingella and gastroenteritis. It should come as no surprise that child care facility pools had the highest number of closings at 17.2%. Bacterial contamination came from dirty diapers, poor hygiene, and people swimming who are ill or fail to rinse their bodies before getting into the pool.

Hotel and motels had closures at 5.3% and apartment/condo pools at 12.4%.

CDC has some safety tips among them – don’t swim if you have diarrhea and don’t drink pool water. Shower with soap before entering the pool or using the bathroom or changing diapers. Check diapers often. Wash your children thoroughly including wiping their bottoms with soap and water before they go swimming.

As for what you can do on your own – you can use a test strip to test the pool water quality on your own. Check the latest pool inspection results and know the pH levels and chlorine levels from the latest test. The pH measures the relative acidity or alkalinity of the pool water. pH is measured on a scale of 1 to 14 where 1 is extremely acidic and 14 is extremely alkaline. A pH reading of 7.0 is neutral — below 7.0 is acidic — above 7.0 is alkaline.