May 2020 JEH: Direct From CDC/Environmental Health Services
May 2020 Journal of Environmental Health (Volume 82, Number 9)
Tools to Help Conquer the Model Aquatic Health Code
CDR Joe Laco, MSEH, RS/REHS, CPO, Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Brian Hubbard, MPH, Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Shannon McClenahan, REHS/RS, Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed for a healthy life. In the U.S., we swim and bathe over 300 million times in pools, oceans, lakes, rivers, and hot tubs/spas each year, and most of the time it is healthy, safe, and enjoyable. There are, however, risks associated with swimming and other recreational water activities. In fact, the number of outbreaks associated with recreational water has increased substantially over the. Drowning, near-drowning, and pool chemical injuries continue to occur. These occurrences underscore the need to build, maintain, and inspect public pools, hot tubs/spas, and water parks to help keep bathers and aquatics staff healthy and safe.
The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is a guidance document based on the latest science and best practices. It was developed to help local and state authorities and the aquatics sector make swimming and other aquatic activities healthier and safer. States and localities can save time by voluntarily using the MAHC to create or update existing pool codes to reduce the risk of outbreaks, drownings, pool chemical exposures, and other injuries. The MAHC guidelines are all-inclusive and aim to prevent illness and injury in the design, construction, operation, and management of public aquatic facilities.
To better serve state and local pool officials, CDC worked with many partners to develop resources to make the MAHC easier to use and navigate. This month’s column provides a list of these resources that includes an inspection form, electronic applications, reporting forms, and MAHC-specific checklists.