While you might assume most people would want to keep their swimming pool chemistry levels safe and healthy, some recent research from the Water Quality and Health Council might have you thinking twice about diving into someone else’s residential swimming pool or hitting the swimming pool at the resort you are staying at over your vacation.
Released on November 1, 2011, the Water Quality and Health Council, which is made up of an independent, multidisciplinary group of scientific experts, health professionals, and consumer advocates, found that about half of the 1,500 swimming pools that were tested this past summer showed improper pool chemistry. That’s based on the results from a 2011 Healthy Pools campaign sponsored by the Water Quality and Health Council.
To undertake the study, swimmers from around the nation ordered free test kits and checked their swimming pool water for proper pH and chlorine levels. In total, there were 32,000 test kits ordered with 1,500 swimmers uploaded their results to the Health Pools campaign website. Most of the data – 78% — came from water from residential swimming pools while 18% came from community adult swimming pools, 3% from community children swimming pools, and 1% from hotel and motel swimming pools.
The findings were startling. Many of the swimming pools showed that the water was out of what was considered optimum range to protect swimmers again waterborne germs. Of these 47% of the swimming pools had inappropriate pH, which was outside of the recommended rage of 7.2-7.8. Additionally, 54% of these swimming pools had inappropriate free chlorine values, which were outside of the range of 1-3 parts per million.
More Education for Greater Health and Safety
All of these findings illustrate how much more public and business education is needed for proper swimming pool chemistry. The recent news article noted the following reasons why the right chemistry is essential:
According to CDC, chlorine and pH represent the front line of defense against waterborne illnesses. Routine chlorination kills harmful microorganisms that can cause health-related problems, such as gastroenteritis and swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear is a painful infection that in the United States results in an estimated 2.4 million health care visits every year and nearly half a billion dollars in health care costs.
What You Can Do
Before you dive into the swimming pool, it is best to use test strips to check levels. If you find that pH and chlorine levels are outside the range of what is considered healthy and balanced, it is important to add the appropriate chemicals to rebalance or ask a swimming pool professional for assistance.
If it is a public or hotel swimming pool, you can also request that management address the problem immediately. No one wants you to call the local health department but you can also do that for a commercial swimming pool at an apartment complex, public facilities, or hotel or motel.
For more information, you can read a great blog series online from the Water Quality and Health Council, read more information at the CDC website, or contact a pool professional who can provide more information on water chemistry.Tags: swimming pool chemicals, swimming pool health, swimming pool research, swimming pool safety