Creating Swimmers This Summer
Water Quality & Health Council

Swim lessons—compliments of the Step Into SwimTM Campaign—at a New York state park lake
Photo credit: New York State Parks Department

Learning to swim is an investment that can pay dividends in health, enjoyment and living a long life.  Knowing how to swim can mean the difference between life and death, and opens up a world of other activities, like sailing, canoeing, fishing and water skiing, making them safer and more fun.  This summer, the National Swimming Pool Foundation’s (NSPF’s) Step Into SwimTMCampaign will help up to 1,000 children become swimmers, including children living in rural areas with limited opportunities for swimming lessons. 

The non-profit National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) reports that four organizations received a total of $70,000 Step Into SwimTM gifts from the NSPF this year. Those gifts were funded by donations to the Campaign, which were matched dollar for dollar by the Foundation.  According to … READ MORE >>

How to Read and Interpret Your Water Utility’s Drinking Water Quality Report (The Consumer Confidence Report)
Steve Hubbs, P.E. and Linda Golodner

Do you know where your drinking water comes from? A river? Lake? Aquifer? Are there contaminants in your drinking water?  What are their levels, and should you be concerned?

Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, all US residents served year-round by a municipal water utility are entitled to information on the quality of their drinking water.  (If you obtain your water from a private well, however, you will not receive a report; see instead the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Private Ground Water Wells website.) 

The law requires water utilities communicate specific information to consumers in an annual report by July 1st of each year; the report may be delivered either by a hard copy mailing or electronic delivery.  You must be informed about how you will receive the report.   If you live in an apartment building or another rental unit, your landlord is required to … READ MORE >>

Expert Advice for Backyard Pool Owners
Water Quality & Health Council

Are you a backyard pool owner? Do you sometimes wish you could have free expert advice on pool maintenance?  Your wish just came true:  check out the Water Quality & Health Council’s popular online “Ask a Pool Operator” feature. 

The “Ask a Pool Operator” web page includes an extensive archive of questions and answers organized by category, including Chlorine, Cloudy-murky Water, Dealing with Animals in the Pool, Green Water and Algae, Inflatable Pools, pH , Salt Pools and more.  Explore the site to learn from the already posted “Q’s and A’s,” and feel free to submit a new question.

Here is a sampling of questions submitted so far by pool owners and answered by an expert.

Topic: Chlorine


what is the right clorine level of a swiiming pool? if the test shows 9 should i close the pool ?


The ideal


Tips to Help Prevent Your Toothbrush from Making You Sick
Bruce Bernard, PhD

Brushing teeth is a no-brainer for dental health, as any dentist will attest, but can tooth-brushing have a down side?  First, most of us have been taught how to use a toothbrush correctly, e.g., don’t brush too hard, brush up-and-down, not side-to-side, and avoid damaging gum tissue.  But there is another aspect of dental hygiene that is seldom discussed:  toothbrush maintenance.  A new article from Infection Control Today provides helpful tips on maintaining your toothbrush. We highlight some of these tips below and add a bit of our own perspective.


The Toothbrush in the Bathroom

It probably comes as no surprise that your toothbrush harbors bacteria from your mouth. However, the common arrangement of a toothbrush holder on a bathroom counter could promote your exposure to fecal germs.  How?  Flushing the toilet sends a contaminated aerosol mist into the air that can settle on surfaces, including your toothbrush.  … READ MORE >>

Avoiding Chikungunya and Other Mosquitoborne Illnesses
Ralph Morris, MD, MPH

Chikungunya is spread by Aedes mosquitoes, which are found throughout much of the world.

A pediatrician returned home to Minnesota recently after providing voluntary medical service in Haiti. She arrived with “crushing joint pain” from chikungunya (pronounced: \chik-en-gun-ye), a viral infection spread by mosquitoes. The exotic-sounding disease can cause high fever in addition to joint and muscle pain. These symptoms are similar to those of dengue, another mosquitoborne illness that currently threatens the popular FIFA World Cup™ games in Brazil.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chikungunya is rarely deadly and most people feel better within a week, but for some, joint pain may persist for months.  The Minnesota pediatrician declared to the Minneapolis Star Tribune:  “I’ve broken a bone. I’ve had other medical issues. I don’t think I’ve ever been in so much pain.”

“That which bends up”

The term “chikungunya” comes from the …

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