Can’t wait to jump in the pool this summer? You may want to read this new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first
Inspection data were collected in 2013 in five states with the most public pools and hot tubs: Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas. The findings revealed that 79 percent of public aquatic venues—including pools, hot tubs, water playgrounds, and other loacations where people swim in treated water—violated at least one safety test, and 1 in 8 inspections resulted in immediate closure due to serious health and safety concerns.
What kind of violations are we talking about? Irritating pH levels (seen in 15 percent of inspections), followed closely by issues with safety equipment (which can increase your risk of drowning), and problematic concentrations of disinfectants (which can cause injuries like burns or poisoning).
And those stats are just for the pools that received routine inspections—only about 68 percent of local health agencies inspect or license public pools, according to the CDC.
There are a few things you can do before taking a dip to make sure the water is safe.
One measures: Grab pH strips from a superstore or pool-supple store and check the water’s pH and free chlorine and bromine concentrations are correct. You want to see a free chlorine concentration of at least 1 ppm in pools, and at least 3 ppm in hot tubs; a free bromine concentration of at least 3 ppm in pools and at least 4 ppm in hot tubs; and a pH between 7.2 and 7.8.
You also want to make sure that the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible, and verify with management that a lifeguard will always be on duty.
You can also wear goggles to safeguard your eyes, and shower after your swim to wash any potential irritants off your skin.
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