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How Gross are Public Pools?

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How Gross are Public Pools?


Each summer, many of us take refuge from the heat at local public schools. And why shouldn’t we? The kids are out of school. Swimming is a great form of exercise. The beach is too far away. And, hey, it beats work!

But not everything about a trip to the pool is so great; in fact, all too often, public pools are unsanitary, and, well, disgusting.. Click through for all of the dirty details, plus tips on making sure your public pool is safe, and precautions you and your family can take. Be warned, though, that this stuff is not for people with weak stomachs!

Earlier: 6 Sumer Vacation Destinations to Avoid (Slideshow)


Why is pool water so gross? There are all sorts of parasites and bacteria found in pool water — and chlorine can’t kill them that fast, if at all. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that, in 2008, nearly 1 in 8 pool inspections resulted in the immediate closure of the pool due to public health and safety reasons.

Ew! What sorts of bacteria? According to the CDC,  58 percent of pools tested positive for E. coli and 60 percent  for pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria that can cause ear infections and skin rashes. Less than 2 percent of the pools contained traces of the germs Cryptosporidium, or Crypto, and Giardia, which can cause diarrhea, respiratory, eye, and neurologic infections, among other symptoms. Crypto is notoriously difficult to treat with chlorine, and is the cause of the majority of recreational water illnesses (RWIs) in the United States.

See Also: 8 Common Cooking Myths (Slideshow)

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


+ add your own
3:44AM PDT on Jun 23, 2015

No wonder why you receive countless of feedbacks. reviews of pool pump timers

7:39AM PDT on Aug 5, 2013


2:57PM PDT on Jul 16, 2013

Gross!! I always swim at the river or a friend's house anyway, so it probably isn't as bad there.

1:13PM PDT on Jul 16, 2013

Thank you Geoff, but the fact is you read my comment and felt the urge to reply.... my work here is done.

10:27PM PDT on Jul 14, 2013

Alison A Very sad

4:27AM PDT on Jul 12, 2013

How Gross are Public Pools?
Do we really need to go into details?
Just think for a moment and realize the same water that is touching and soaking someones privates is going into peoples mouths, and then more.....OMG!!

1:14PM PDT on Jul 10, 2013

YUCK! I'd rather cool myself off with a nice, tepid shower instead!

12:46PM PDT on Jul 10, 2013

For 3 years I've had an ECOsmarte system which is copper ionization (NASA technology). No chlorine or salt generated chlorine. The copper electrode in the unit is an algaecide, bactericide & kills viruses (runs at 0.4-0.7 ppm [EPA drinking water levels are 1.35ppm max]). The titanium/ platinum electrode gives your water a non-chlorine shock every time your pool pump runs. And it runs at a neutral pH (7). I could drink my pool water and we water our plants with the backwash from my filter! No more toxic fumes, headaches, itchy skin, red eyes, green hair or ruined bathing suits! Learn more at

1:29PM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

Thanks for the article.

8:18AM PDT on Jul 9, 2013


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