How to Interpret Pool Chlorine Readings
Linda F. Golodner

Pool chlorine levels are easily measured by dipping a test strip in the pool for a few seconds and then matching the resulting color of the strip to a chart linked to “parts per million” chlorine levels.  Here’s the rub:  Some pool test kits measure “free chlorine,” whereas others measure both “free chlorine” and “total chlorine.” There is a difference between “free” and “total” chlorine.  That may be breaking news to an investigative reporter who recently confused the two in a news segment about possible contaminants in swimming pools.

Why Measure Chlorine?

This summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending the public check the chlorine level and pH of pool water before enjoying a refreshing swim.  Why?  A new CDC report finds that one in five pools in five states in 2013 had to be closed due to serious safety violations, including improper pH or chlorine … READ MORE >>


Cleanup in the Aftermath of Flooding
Water Quality & Health Council

With record flooding in areas of Texas and the 2016 hurricane season just beginning, we think a word to the wise on cleanup in the aftermath of flooding is in order.  First, assume that all flood waters are contaminated and that exposure to these waters may raise the risk of diarrhea, dysentery, and even hepatitis, skin and eye infections and respiratory disorders.

The first step in the cleanup operation is to remove flood water and sewage and dry the affected area.  Powerful fans and enhanced ventilation are helpful for drying damp structural surfaces.  Meanwhile, it is important to evaluate items contacted by flood waters, deciding what to discard and what to keep.  Whenever possible, a disinfecting solution of water and chlorine bleach should be applied to affected surfaces of saved items.

To help prevent disease transmission associated with flood cleanup, the Water Quality and Health Council offers the following tips:READ MORE >>


Maximizing Healthy Fun in the Kiddie Pool
Chris Wiant, MPH, PhD

Each summer, parents of toddlers and young children delight in introducing their offspring to the kiddie pool.  With its shallow water, plastic pails and inflatable toys, the kiddie pool is a haven of fun, discovery and social interaction for the youngest pool patrons.  Spending time in the kiddie pool to acclimate a toddler to the water could be the first step in cultivating a life-long swimmer. All terrific!

Now for the disturbing news:  According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of all the aquatic venues that were closed because of serious health and safety violations in 2013, kiddie and wading pools lead the pack.  Specifically, in the five US states with the most public pools, one in five wading pools (20 percent) had to be closed immediately upon inspection due to serious health and safety violations.

The Diaper Set

It probably comes as …


Swimming Pool Water: When Clarity Counts
Ralph D. Morris, MD, MPH

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report states that one in eight swimming pool inspections in five states in 2013 resulted in immediate closure due to serious health and safety violations. Is it any wonder that officials with CDC are asking swimmers to be their own pool inspectors this summer?  The agency adds that only 68 percent of US local public health agencies regulate, inspect, or license public aquatic facilities. CDC’s response is to turn swimmers into their own pool inspectors by providing them with an inspection checklist:

  • Is the pool chemistry correct?  Use a simple pool test kit to check the water’s pH and free chlorine level. (Get a free pool test kit at
  • Is the drain at the bottom of the deep end visible?
  • Do the drain covers at the bottom appear to be secured and in good repair?
  • Is a lifeguard on

The Truth about Chlorine in Swimming Pools
Water Quality & Health Council

This summer when you don your bathing suit and walk out onto the pool deck, you may be in for a sensory experience that conjures up happy memories of summers past—warm sunshine, sparkling pool water and the smell of chlorine.  If the chlorine smell is very strong, however, you may soon spot “red-eyed” swimmers emerging from the pool.  That’s when the pool water is assumed to have “too much chlorine” in it.  Ironically, a strong chemical smell around the pool and “swimmer red eye” may be signs that there is not enough chlorine in the water.  Sound confusing?  It’s time to set the record straight about chlorine and swimming pools.

Chlorine helps protect swimmers from waterborne germs

Most swimmers understand that chlorine is added to pools to kill germs that can make swimmers sick.  Chlorine-based pool sanitizers help reduce swimmers’ risk of waterborne illnesses, such as diarrhea, swimmer’s ear, and … READ MORE >>


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