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Journal Article


Vanden Esschert KL, Haileyesus T, Tarrier AL, Donovan MA, Garofalo GT, Laco JP, Hill VR, Hlavsa MC. MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. 2019; 68(19): 433-438.


(Copyright © 2019, (in public domain), Publisher U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)






Pool chemicals are added to water in treated recreational water venues (e.g., pools, hot tubs/spas, and water playgrounds) primarily to protect public health. Pool chemicals inactivate pathogens (e.g., chlorine or bromine), optimize pH (e.g., muriatic acid), and increase water clarity, which helps prevent drowning by enabling detection of distressed swimmers underwater. However, pool chemicals can cause injuries if mishandled. To estimate the annual number of U.S. emergency department (ED) visits for pool chemical injuries, CDC analyzed 2008-2017 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). During 2015-2017, pool chemical injuries led to an estimated 13,508 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 9,087-17,929) U.S. ED visits; 36.4% (estimated 4,917 [95% CI = 3,022-6,811]) of patients were aged <18 years. At least 56.3% (estimated 7,601 [95% CI = 4,587-10,615]) of injuries occurred at a residence. Two thirds of the injuries occurred during the period from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. This report also describes a toxic chlorine gas incident that occurred at a public pool in New York in 2018. Pool chemical injuries are preventable. CDC's Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is an important resource that operators of public treated recreational water venues (e.g., at hotels, apartment complexes, and waterparks) can use to prevent pool chemical injuries.

Language: en


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