CDC Calls Attention to Pool Chemical Injuries

Nearly 5,000 emergency room visit in 2012 resulted from exposures to them, and more than one-third of them occurred at homes.

A recent CDC study reported that injuries caused by exposure to pool chemicals resulted in nearly 5,000 emergency room visits during 2012. Nearly half of those injured were children and teenagers, and more than one-third of them occurred at homes.

The injuries were most common in summer, and almost half of them occurred on weekends.

"Chemicals are added to the water in pools to stop germs from spreading. But they need to be handled and stored safely to avoid serious injuries," said Michele Hlavsa, chief of CDC's Healthy Swimming Program.

Residential pool owners and public pool operators should follow these steps to prevent pool chemical injuries:

  • Read and follow directions on product labels.
  • Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as goggles and masks, as directed, when handling pool chemicals.
  • Secure pool chemicals to protect people and animals.
  • Keep young children away when handling 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 chemical to water, never water to pool chemicals.

The study analyzed data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System and was released ahead of Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week, observed during May 19-25 this year. For information about healthy swimming, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming.

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