Health Study: CDC report suggests 1 in 8 pools closed due to soiled water

Health Study: CDC report suggests 1 in 8 pools closed due to soiled water


05/21/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Atlanta, GA—A new study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed some disturbing information regarding public pools. The CDC released the report on Thursday, May 20, 2010 in their publication, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), as reported by USA Today.

The study covered 13 states and was compiled of more than 120,000 pool inspections during the year 2008. The report was also deemed to be the largest study concerning swimming pool conditions ever conducted.

The government study indicated that in 2008, one in eight public swimming pools had to be shut down due to soiled water conditions. Lack of safety equipment was also an alleged contributing factor.

The following are key points, which contributed to the safety and health issues generally found at public swimming pools:

• There are 15 to 20 annual outbreaks of gastrointestinal illnesses, or “stomach bugs,” connected to the utilization public swimming pools.

• Of these reported outbreaks, bacteria, viruses or parasites cause approximately 25 percent of illnesses. Inadequate chlorination processes may be to blame.

• Fecal particles and urine, particularly in kiddie pools or child-friendly fountains, along with sweat and sunscreen, allegedly contribute to the problem as well. Urine contains nitrogen, which in itself consumes the pool’s chlorine.

• The issue is not limited to children, however. According to a survey conducted by the Water Quality and Health Council last year, one in five adults confessed to peeing in the pool. There were 1,000 Americans who participated in the survey.

Now here are some tips that may help in preventing pool-related illnesses:

• Before swimming in a potentially germ-infested public pool, the CDC suggests purchasing a water test kit. These kits can be bought at hardware stores.

• Those who have had diarrhea are urged to stay out of the water.


Chief of the CDC’s swimming pool program, Michele Hlavsa, noted, “We definitely need to focus on improving pool operations.”

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan.

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