Before summer heats up, and you want to cool off at the pool, a quick reminder — the water’s swimming with filth.
A study of 48,632 public pools, hot tubs, water playgrounds and other places where people swim in treated water revealed that almost 80% of them were filthy enough to warrant a safety violation, the Centers for Disease Control reported.
One in eight of the putrid puddles were so gross that they had to be closed immediately. It’s even worse for children: One in five kiddie pools had to be shut down because of serious health violations.
The agency collected the dirty data in 2013 from the five states with the most public pools and hot tubs: Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas.
“No one should get sick or hurt when visiting a public pool, hot tub, or water playground,” Beth Bell, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases said in a statement. “That’s why public health and aquatics professionals work together to improve the operation and maintenance of these public places so people will be healthy and safe when they swim.”
The most common violations were improper pH levels, safety equipment and disinfectant concentration, the agency reported.
A good chunk of public pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds aren’t regulated either, as almost one-third of local health departments don’t bother inspecting the watering holes, CDC’s chief of Healthy Swimming Program Michele Hlavsa said.
This year’s report continues the CDC’s summer tradition of reminding everyone the water is disgusting, just before the unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day.
In 2015, the agency pointed out that water-borne diseases are most common in July, thanks to lazy cleaners and a chlorine-resistant poop parasite that thrives in water.
In 2013, the CDC warned that 60% of pools contained traces of feces and spread E. coli, thanks to swimmers who did the doody deed in the water.
The CDC says that, in order to stay cool and clean this summer, examine the waters yourself by bringing your own test strips, which can be found at most superstores or pool supply stores.