5,000 needed treatment at U.S. hospital emergency rooms due to pool chemicals

Chlorine and bromine do not kill germs instantly; most pathogens are killed within minutes.
By Alex Cukan  |  May 15, 2014 at 4:36 PM
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ATLANTA, May 15 (UPI) -- In 2012, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated almost 5,000 people -- half teens and children -- for injuries due to pool chemicals.

The researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System found more than a third of the pool chemical injuries occurred at home. Almost half of the injuries occurred on weekends.

"Chemicals are added to the water in pools to stop germs from spreading," Michele Hlavsa, chief of CDC's Healthy Swimming Program, said in a statement.

"But they need to be handled and stored safely to avoid serious injuries."

In addition, chlorine and bromine do not kill germs instantly; most pathogens are killed within minutes, therefore it is important to prevent pool contamination by not swimming when ill with diarrhea or having children go to the bathroom in the pool, Hlavsa said.

The CDC said to prevent pool chemical injuries: -- Read and follow directions on chemical product labels. -- Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as goggles and masks, as directed, when handling pool chemicals. -- Store pool chemicals to protect people and animals. -- Keep young children away pool chemicals. -- Never mix different pool chemicals with each other, especially chlorine products with acid. -- Pre-dissolve pool chemicals only when directed by product label. -- Add pool chemicals to water -- never water to pool chemicals.

More information on recreational water illness is available from the CDC.

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