Survey: Public Swimming Pools Full of Germs… and Pee
May 29, 2012
Swimming in a public pool can be a great way to escape the summer heat, but new data reveals a quick dip may not be as refreshing as you think. According to survey done by the Water Quality and Health Council, one in five Americans admit to using a public pool as a urinal. Ick.
Germs found in many pools also come from fellow floaters’ sweat and cosmetics that wash off in the water instead of in a pre-pool shower. While seven in ten Americans surveyed confessed to skipping a shower before going for a swim, the contamination they cause is completely preventable if they had had a quick rinse of soap and water.
Dr. Chris Wiant, chair of the Water Quality and Health Council, relayed to CNN Health, “Swimming is not a substitute for bathing. Too many people unknowingly treat the pool as a communal bathtub.” Again, ick, but what’s more disgusting is that this even has to be said.
Proper pH and chlorine levels help keep pools safe by destroying waterborne germs that can cause diarrhea, swimmer's ear and skin infections. However, too high of a level can become an irritant in itself. The Water Quality and Health Council provides free pool test strips so swimmers can check the pH and chlorine levels in their public pools. Last summer 32,000 free pool test strips were distributed throughout the US and results found that 54 percent of pools tested had unacceptable chlorine levels and 47 percent had inappropriate pH levels.
So, on your next trip to the pool be sure to rinse off your kids and yourself with soap and water prior to taking a plunge, bring your little ones on frequent bathroom breaks to avoid accidents, and make sure the pH and chlorine levels in the pool are up to standard. If only everyone else would do the same…
Have you ever tested your public pool’s pH and chlorine levels before? Did you know the importance of taking a shower before swimming?