Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What is in that pool?

There is now a kit you can buy to test the water before jumping into a pool. The test indicates whether or not the PH and other levels are appropriate. When they aren't, you are at risk of getting an infection like e-coli. Unfortunately, a lot of people pee in the pool and if the chlorine and other levels aren't right, you could be ingesting some of it. It's a disgusting thought. The test kits are available for free at www.healthypools.org.

FROM CNN: Summer is just around the corner, and if you're planning to make a splash we've got some important information to share. Your local swimming pool may not be as clean as you think. In fact, it might even be dangerous if the chlorine level isn't high enough. When it comes to pool safety… most of us look for a lifeguard… and jump right in.

But do you ever think about what's in the water?
What do you think about people who pee in the pool? "That has to be one of the most disgusting things especially with children in the pool." But it does happen. "Ew, well I don't pee in the pool." she may not. others do.

According to a survey from the Water Quality and Health Council 1 in 5 people admit to peeing in the pool!
I think its more people than one out of five have done it, but haven't admitted it. The people who clean pools also know it happens. That's why at this YMCA pool in the Bronx, New York… they says they check the water every two hours. "It's tough. You have to be constantly monitoring it, you have to be persistent in checking your levels."

But a new report from the centers for disease control suggests this YMCA and its high standards are more the exception than the rule.
"We found that almost 1 in 8 pools was immediately closed on inspection because of serious violations that threatened public health and safety. By serious violations I mean for example, no chlorine in the water."

That could leave swimmers unprotected from bacteria that could cause everything from an upset stomach to an e-coli infection. so, how do you know when not to take the plunge.
I think you have to take a leap of faith that some one's doing their job. But the CDC says you really don't have to take a leap of faith, because testing kits like these are readily available and easy to use. You just take a strip and dip it in the water and then compare it to the chart on the back of the bottle.

Red is the PH, it's ok, so is the chlorine which is purple.
If they're not right we recommend talking to the pool operator. If the pool operator doesn't correct the situation, go in to your local public health department. Although the CDC is working on it, there are no national guidelines for pools, which means the quality of the water can really vary...so, it's up to you and those test strips.

When we go biking we wear helmets, now when we go swimming CDC recommends that you test the water before you go in.
The CDC says there are a patchwork of rules and regulations across the country. Some pools may only get inspected once a year or not at all. As for those test strips, the CDC is now providing them free of charge at healthypools dot org.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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