My family has learned over the years to dread this week every May. Pool opening–I turn into POOL MAN on a mission to turn a murky swamp into a pristine blue spa. This year I did it in record time–barely 48 hours– from opening to crystal clear, and yesterday I enjoyed my first summer swim workout in my backward, always a great day for me.
Let’s talk a bit about pool chemical safety.
US Emergency Rooms report >4500 pool chemical related injuries annually. >1/2 are at home, > 1/3 involve children and 2/3 occur in summertime (Memorial Day to Labor Day). There has been little change in these numbers over the last 2 decades, but I find a bit positive in that number: given the increasing prevalence of back yard pools in our communities over that time, the static number of accidents probably means that we are doing a better safety job in this area, at least on the margins, anyway.
The most common accidents involve inhaled toxic fumes/dust; other common injuries occur to the eyes or skin. Mostly this is due to accidental spread or splashing of powders or liquids or from fumes that arise from opening of containers. Here are a few suggestions to help protect your family:
- Keep all pool chemicals out of reach/contact of children or animals.
- Read AND FOLLOW directions for use carefully.
- Whenever possible, wear protective gear–gloves, eyewear, even respirators–when handling pool chemicals.
- Be cautious about any mixing of pool chemicals–especially chlorine and acids can pose particular dangers.
- Storage rooms should have adequate ventilation and lighting.
- Storage room interior should have enough temperature control to keep < 95 degrees F /35 C.
- Storage rooms should be insulated to keep chemicals dry.
- No smoking or flame around pool chemicals.
- No power equipment or fuel around pool chemicals.
- No food or beverage around pool chemicals.
- Keep storage areas free of debris/refuse like rags, loose paper.
- ALWAYS store chemicals in original, clearly marked containers.
- Most chemical treatment guidelines recommend several hours after pool application prior to swimming. Know those rules and follow them.
- Poison control hotline number 1-800-222-1222. 24/7.
Send along questions and comments, and thanks for following.