Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 9:38 EDT

Half of U.S. Swimming Pools Tested during the Healthy Pools Campaign Had Improper pH and Chlorine Levels

November 1, 2011

“Swimmers should not have to flip a coin to determine if their pool chemistry is unacceptable.”

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — About half of 1,500 swimming pools tested this past summer showed improper pool chemistry. That’s according to results from the 2011 Healthy Pools campaign sponsored by the Water Quality and Health Council. In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Water Quality and Health Council helps promote the goal of healthy swimming in healthy pools. Through the campaign, swimmers from around the country ordered free test kits and checked their swimming pool water for proper pH and chlorine levels. With a generous contribution from the Hach Company, more than 32,000 test kits were ordered and 1,500 swimmers uploaded their results to the Health Pools campaign website.

“Too many of the pools tested were out of the optimum range for protection against waterborne germs and swimmer comfort,” Wiant said.

    47% of pools had inappropriate pH (outside the
     recommended range of 7.2-7.8)
    54% percent had inappropriate free chlorine values
     (outside the recommended range of 1-3 parts per

The majority of data (78%) were submitted by backyard pool owners, pointing to a need for better public education on proper pool chemistry. In addition, data were submitted by swimmers at community adult pools (18%), community kiddie pools (3%) and hotel and motel pools (1%).

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 should you do?
    "Dip before you dive":  Dip test strips into
     pool water to check levels before you enter
     the pool.
    If pH and chlorine levels are outside of
     appropriate ranges, ask pool managers to
     address the problem.

In an effort to assist backyard pool owners with pool-related questions, this summer the Water Quality & Health Council added a popular “Ask a Pool Operator” feature to its Healthy Pools website. The public was treated to free expert advice on technical problems dealing with swimming pool maintenance. The Council also works to improve pool management education through its Healthy Pools blog series.

For more information on healthy pools and healthy swimming, please visit www.healthypools.org and http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/.

The Water Quality and Health Council is an independent, multidisciplinary group comprising scientific experts, health professionals and consumer advocates who serve as advisors to the Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council. The group is sponsored by the Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council, an industry trade association.

SOURCE Water Quality & Health Council

Source: PR Newswire