Presentation Title: Recreational Water Illness and Aquatic Facility–Related Events Associated with Swimming Pool Chemicals
CAPT Charles Otto
Michele C. Hlavsa
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates 4,635 people sought care in
a review of
1. Chlorine gas being released when concentrated chlorine and acid mixed after the recirculation pump shut down but the chlorine/pH control feed pump continued running;
2. Pool operators not using personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling chemicals; and
3. Violent chemical reactions resulting from mixing incompatible chemicals (e.g., chlorine and acid) because labels on their containers were not read before use or the same equipment was used for different chemicals.
Engineering controls, educating pool operators and private pool owners on proper chemical storage and handling, and good maintenance can minimize the risk of exposure to swimming pool chemicals. Installing an electrical interlock system between the recirculation and chlorine/pH control feed pumps and establishing secondary, or spill, containment are examples of engineering controls. Operators and owners also need education on the incompatibility of certain chemicals, how to read the labels on containers of swimming pool chemicals, and appropriate use of PPE. Additionally, pool equipment service should only be done by trained personnel. These data underscore the need for improved education and training with an emphasis on instituting preventive maintenance programs to reduce future injuries.