SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - U.S. officials have a warning for Americans who want to beat the heat this summer, they say some public pools may pose a serious health hazard.
Thousands of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds are forced to close due to serious health and safety violations, including contamination problems that could make people sick, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday.
Officials say the public should be aware of the issues and do their part in keeping public pools safe.
The director of CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, said in a statement, "No one should get sick or hurt when visiting a public pool, hot tub, or water playground."
According to the report, the CDC collected data in the five states with the most public pools and hot tubs - Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas - in 2013. They reviewed over 84,000 routine inspections of nearly 50,000 public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds.
The results showed that almost 80 percent of all inspections identified at least one violation, with 1 in 8 inspections resulting in immediate closure because of serious health and safety problems.
The most common violations involved improper pH levels, safety equipment and disinfectant concentration. The agency says nearly a third of local health departments don't regulate or inspect public pools.
The highest proportion of closures were in "kiddie" or wading pools, with 1 in 5 needing to be shut down.
Healthy and Safe Swimming Week begins on May 23, 2016. CDC encourages swimmers to help protect themselves from getting sick or hurt at pools or hot tubs.
When visiting public or private pools, swimmers and parents of young swimmers can complete their own inspection using a short and easy checklist that will identify some of the most common health and safety problems:
- Use a test strip (available at most superstores or pool-supply stores) to determine if the pH and free chlorine or bromine concentration are correct. CDC recommends:
- Free chlorine concentration of at least 1 ppm in pools and at least 3 ppm in hot tubs/spas.
- Free bromine concentration of at least 3 ppm in pools and at least 4 ppm in hot tubs/spas.
- pH of 7.2–7.8.
- Make sure the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible. Clear water allows lifeguards and other swimmers to see swimmers underwater who might need help.
- Check that drain covers appear to be secured and in good repair. Swimmers can get trapped underwater by a loose or broken drain cover.
- Confirm that a lifeguard is on duty at public venues. If not, check whether safety equipment like a rescue ring with rope or pole is available.
For more information and other healthy and safe swimming steps, Click Here.