A report carried out by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that public aquatic facilities might be violating safety conditions in five states of the country. In summer, serious health and safety violations have to lead the closure of these places.

According to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, about one in ten public pools were closed in the United States for water quality or safety violations.

During this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data collected in 2013, containing information on those states where the largest public pools are located: New York, Arizona, Florida, California and Texas.

Researchers from the agency examined routine inspections of 48,632 public pools all across the country. Inspections
Researchers from the agency examined routine inspections of 48,632 public pools all across the country. Inspections of public aquatic facilities included pools, hot tubs, water parks and every single location people use for swimming or bathing.
Image Credit: CNN

Results showed that almost 80 percent of facilities inspected had at least two safety violations. Regarding this report, the most common water safety violations were linked to variable amounts of PH levels, inadequate safety equipment, the improper concentration of disinfectants, among others. Little more than 12 percent of aquatic facilities seriously violated health standards of water disinfectant, another 13 percent of aquatic facilities violated equipment safety standards and-and another 5 percent had pool chemical safety violations. These spots were immediately closed.

Michelle Hlavsa, chief of the CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program, considers that results found are worrying, however, it is not the first time this type of health violations comes to light. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found other violations regarding contamination and safety rates in different small studies that have been done during the last 40 years. Still, results linked to this subject are not comforting, quite the opposite, they are alarming considering the high health risks these sort of violations might cause in citizens.

Due to high numbers of illness and deaths in aquatic facilities, this study was published by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once the agency created the Network for Aquatic Facility Inspection Surveillance (NAFIS) in 2013. The NAFIS received data concerned with aquatic facilities inspection, which was collected by environmental health practitioners while assessing the operation and maintenance of public marine spots.

The report, entitled Immediate Closures and Violations Identified During Routine Inspections of Public Aquatic Facilities — Network for Aquatic Facility Inspection Surveillance, Five States, 2013, analyzed inspection reports. Said reports were made by 16 public health agencies in five states (New York, Arizona, Florida, California and Texas) and 15 MACH elements were used to compare how many of them were present in safety conditions of public aquatic places.

Requirements regarding security and cleanliness standards vary in each state. The MACH system was created keeping in mind safety conditions and proper balance in chemical concentrations in pools’ waters.

Suggestions while using public aquatic facilities

CDC closed thousands of public pools across the country
The CDC recently closed 80 percent of the pools evaluated across different states in the country for violating health inspections. Credit: Examiner

According to Hlavsa environmental health practitioners and public health inspectors are key institutions while protecting public health, even then, considering study’s findings, it is clear that these organizations are not carrying out the best strategies to communicate all that is needed to preserve human health in aquatic facilities. Since 1978, 650 disease outbreaks have been linked to conditions of aquatic facilities.

From 2003 to 2012, between 3,000 and 5,000 cases have been treated in emergency rooms due to pool chemicals and almost 4,000 drowning deaths have been registered in children between 1 and four years old. These statistics show that greater cautions must be considered by organizations in charge of public health as well as by parents or adults who frequently visits these spots during summer times.  

Moreover, Hlavsa states that to be sure about safety conditions in public aquatic facilities, they could do the monitoring on their own. All people need to do is to look for information on the internet about water inspections. Also, to carry out the review process there explained or use pH strips and water testing kits available at most supermarkets before getting into the water.

The products to measure pH levels are useful while determining the concentration of chemicals presented in water; some people might have sensitive skin to high levels, and they can cause allergic reactions. Further, researchers suggest being sure about proper safety equipment at the pool, such as the drain at the bottom in case the pool needs to be leaked out, rescue rings or lifeguards.

Source: CDC