Pool Danger

More than 4500 people end up in the emergency room each year because of injuries from pool chemicals, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Inhaling chemicals was the most common injury. CDC examined data on emergency department visits due to pool chemical injuries during 2015- 2017. The top diagnosis was poisoning due to breathing in chemical fumes, vapors, or gases—for example, when opening chlorine containers.

Additional findings:

  • Over one-third of these preventable injuries were in children or teens (36%)
  • Over half of pool chemical injuries occurred at a home (56%)
  • About two-thirds of pool chemical injuries occurred during the summer swim season (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day) (65%)

Safety starts with pool owners and operating pool chemicals, like chlorine, protect swimmers from the spread of germs and prevent outbreaks linked to pools and water playgrounds. If you own a pool or operate a public pool (for example, at a hotel, waterpark, or community center), take the following steps to prevent pool chemical injuries:

  • Read and follow directions on pool chemical product labels.
  • Wear safety equipment, such as respirators or googles, when handling pool chemicals. Check product labels for directions on what to wear.
  • Keep pool chemicals out of reach of children, teens, and animals (including pets).
  • Never mix different pool chemicals with each other. It is particularly dangerous to mix chlorine and acid.
  • If you operate a public pool, complete the operator training that includes pool chemical safety. Conduct pool chemical safety training for all staff that handle chemicals.

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