The hidden danger in swimming pools

June 16, 2010 3:20:58 AM PDT
For many, summer is exemplified by a dip in the pool. Yet, the local swimming pool may be more dangerous than you realize. Before jumping in, most people look for a lifeguard, but what is in the water can be more important.

According to a survey from the Water Quality and Heath Council, one in five people admits to peeing in the pool. This can be dangerous if the chlorine level is not high enough.

Some pools, such as the YMCA pool in the Bronx, check the water frequently. The Bronx YMCA checks every two hours.

However, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that high standards, like those at the YMCA, are an exception, not a rule.

One in eight pools was immediately closed after inspection because of serious violations that threatened public health and safety, such as no chlorine in the water.

These violations expose swimmer to bacteria which can cause anything from an upset stomach to an e-coli infection.

In order to avoid health risks, the CDC suggests buying a readily-available testing kit and checking the pool's pH and chlorine levels. If they're not right, you should talk to the pool operator, or if necessary, report the pool to the local public health department.

Currently, there are no national guidelines for pools, just a patchwork of rules and regulations across the country. The CDC is working on creating national guidelines.

For now, the CDC is providing free test strips at healthypools.org

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