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May 2019 Direct From CDC/Environmental Health Services

Direct From CDC/Environmental Health Services Column

May 2019 Journal of Environmental Health (Volume 81, Number 9)

Editor's Note: NEHA strives to provide up-to-date and relevant information on environmental health and to build partnerships in the profession. In pursuit of these goals, we feature a column on environmental health services from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in every issue of the Journal.

In these columns, authors from CDC's Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services Branch, as well as guest authors, will share insights and information about environmental health programs, trends, issues, and resources. The conclusions of these columns are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of CDC.

Good Pool Chemistry Keeps Swimming Healthy and Safe

Michele C. Hlavsa, MPH, RN

CDR Joseph P. Laco, MSEH, REHS/RS

Vincent R. Hill, PhD


Many pool chemicals are used to protect the health and safety of swimmers and aquatics staff. For example, to help prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases, chlorine or bromine is added as a barrier to pathogen transmission. Muriatic (hydrochloric) acid is added to maintain pH at 7.2–7.8. Clarifiers are added to maximize water clarity, which enable lifeguards and others to identify distressed swimmers underwater and help prevent drownings.

Maximizing the positive public health impact of pool chemicals calls for minimizing the risk of pool chemical injuries. State and local environmental health practitioners are on the frontline of prevention through educating pool operators about pool chemical safety, inspecting on pool code elements that minimize the risk of pool chemical injuries, investigating pool chemical injuries to identify their root cause(s), and informing the development of optimized measures to prevent future events. This month's column looks at pool chemical injuries and how they can be prevented.

Read the May 2019 JEH Direct From CDC/EHS Column in Full