7 Ways to Avoid Harm from Pool Chemicals

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals a summer safetychallenge right under our noses-pool chemicals. While these products help to keep germs from multiplying in home and public pool water, the wrong kind of handling or storage can—and does—cause serious damage. Injuries from pool chemicals led to nearly 5,000 emergency department visits in 2012, according to the CDC.

Pool Chemicals 101

Don't be afraid to beat the heat by jumping into a cool pool. Just follow some simple steps can keep harm at bay.

Home pool owners and public pool operators can practice prevention by:

  1. Reading product-label directions carefully and following them completely.
  2. Wearing appropriate safety equipment (like goggles and masks) as directed to handle the pool chemicals.
  3. Keeping young children away when handling chemicals.
  4. Never combining different pool chemicals with each other.
  5. Pre-dissolving the chemicals only when directed by product label.
  6. Adding them to water only. (Never add water to pool chemicals.)
  7. Storing pool chemicals in a secure place to protect people and animals.

For best results, keep in mind that pool chemicals need a few minutes after they're added to water to kill most germs. To help keep germs out of pool water to begin with, don't swim when ill with diarrhea and bring kids on regular bathroom breaks. Furthermore, do not swallow pool water.

The CDC study showed that a third of pool-chemical incidents were at a home pool, and that kids and teens accounted for nearly half of the injuries. Harm related to pool chemicals were most common between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to the report.

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