Swimming pool chemicals cause thousands of injuries and illnesses each year, but such accidents can largely be prevented, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pool chemicals are estimated to have caused more than 28,000 cases of injury and illness between 2002 and 2008, according to a CDC report. Those estimates are based on data from nationally representative samples.
Most pool chemical accidents occurred at private homes, according to U.S. News and World Report. The CDC study also revealed the most common types of pool chemical injuries, and suggested ways to prevent them.
The three most common swimming pool chemical injuries were respiratory problems, eye injuries, and skin injuries, according to the CDC.
Most pool-chemical accident injuries were not severe: Fewer than 5% of cases required extended hospital treatment. About 40% of cases were work-related.
Factors most frequently associated with pool chemical accidents and injuries included:
- Mixing incompatible chemicals. Swimming pool owners must read product labels to prevent the improper mixing of chemicals. There are also devices that can prevent chemical mixing automatically.
- Accidental spills and splashes. Those who handle pool chemicals must use extra caution, as many chemical containers are poorly designed.
- Improper training and supervision. Swimming pool owners and employees must know the correct way to open, handle, close, and store chemical containers.
- Improper storage. Chemicals should be stored out of children's reach -- another reason it's important to make sure chemical containers are properly closed.
Anyone who handles swimming pool chemicals should also wear protective clothing and have a plan in place in the event of an accident, the CDC recommends. Read more safety tips at the CDC's website.