Make a splash for public health this summer

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 1, 2004 -- For many Americans, summertime fun begins and ends in the nearest swimming pools. According to U.S. Census data, swimming ranks as the second most popular exercise activity in the country. Whether in the backyard, local recreation center, neighborhood swim club or vacation hotel, it's a healthy pursuit that deserves an equally healthy environment in which to swim.

Sometimes, however, swimmers are not taking their afternoon dip in properly treated water, and the result can make for some very unhealthy times. A national partnership of public health, water quality and consumer advocacy organizations would like to see that change. According to their new initiative, the solution involves us all.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Consumers League (NCL), the Water Quality and Health Council (WQHC), the Chlorine Chemistry Council (CCC) and the National Spa & Pool Institute (NSPI) have joined together to alert and educate the public on the need to stay personally involved in monitoring and maintaining healthy pools this summer. Through the Healthy Pools campaign, the partnership aims to correct general misconceptions about the public health needs of swimming pools, offering tips on how to recognize risky swimming facilities and how to promote cleaner, healthier pools. What's at stake, according to noted Michigan State University microbiologist Dr. Joan Rose, is your personal health and the health of your family.

"Improperly treated public swimming pools can be the source of a variety of infections and illnesses associated with waterborne germs such as Giardia, E-coli, Shigella and Cryptosporidium," said Rose. An avid swimmer, Rose comments, "While swimming is one of the healthiest activities you can do, exposure to these germs can present uncomfortable results including diarrhea, respiratory illness, ear or nose infections and skin outbreaks." According to CDC epidemiologist Dr. Michael Bea

Contact: Steve Masar
Chlorine Chemistry Council

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