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Originally published September 23 2010

One in eight public pools full of disease-inducing filth, warns CDC

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) One in eight public pools is likely in violation of safety standards designed to reduce the risk of infection, according to a report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

According to the report, more than 12 percent of the 121,000 routine pool inspections conducted in 13 states in 2008 uncovered safety violations resulting in the immediate closure of the pool. Pools inspected included those at hotels, motels, childcare facilities and residential complexes, as well as interactive fountains and kiddie or wading pools.

"Pools in child care settings had the highest percentage of inspections that resulted in immediate closures," said CDC epidemiologist Michele Hlavsa.

The violations leading to closure involved either insufficient levels of chlorine or improper pH levels, both of which can make it easier for pathogens to multiply in still water.

"It's not easy to keep pools, especially outdoor pools, within compliance," said William Schaffner, chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University. "They must be checked frequently."

Hlavsa encouraged adult swimmers and parents of child swimmers to take a more active role in preventing disease transmission at pools. People should ask pool operators what the pH of the water is, or test it themselves with free strips available from the Health Pools web site. The pH should fall between 7.2 and 7.8.

Swimmers should also shower with soap before entering a pool, avoid swallowing pool water, and wash their hands upon exiting. Children or adults suffering from diarrhea should not use public pools. Parents should check children's diapers both before and after children swim, and diapers should never be changed near the water.

Schaffner said the study results should not be interpreted as meaning that all pools are unhealthy, noting that 88 percent of pools passed their inspections.

"Swimming is a great physical activity, but people just need to think a little more and take more active roles in making sure it's healthy, too," Hlavsa said.

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