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From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein 

Date: May 16, 2019 


CONTACT: Kara Kane, Public Information Officer


Phone: (716) 858-4941   



Erie County Department of Health Offers Tips for Healthy Pools

ERIE COUNTY, NY – The theme for this year’s National Healthy and Safe Swimming Week is “Pool Chemistry for Healthy and Safe Swimming.” From May 20-26, the Erie County Department of Health is highlighting the role that chemistry plays in keeping pools, hot tubs and spas safe for swimmers.


“Anyone who operates a pool or water park, from the largest public pool to a residential hot tub, has a role in preventing disease outbreaks, pool chemical injuries and accidental drowning,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “Chlorine and bromine kill germs in water when used appropriately, and a well-treated pool should not have a strong chemical smell.”


What is that chemical process? Chlorine and bromine tablets react in water and break down into other chemicals, which destroy bacteria and microorganisms and make them harmless. When used according to label instructions, that process is complete within about 30 minutes. Use too little chlorine, and some bacteria will remain in the water. Too much chlorine can cause other negative effects, such as itchy skin, an unpleasant odor and damage or fading of swimsuits and plastic equipment.


The Erie County Department of Health offers these suggestions for a healthy and safe swimming experience:


  1. Always read and follow the directions on the product labels of pool chemicals BEFORE using them.
  2. Shower with clean water for a least one minute before getting in a pool.
  3. Use test strips, available in hardware stores, pool-supply stores and some grocery stores, to test the water pH and for chlorine/bromine levels.
  4. Don’t swim or let children swim when sick with diarrhea; don’t urinate or defecate in bodies of water.
  5. Don’t swallow pool water.


“Sending this reminder as people start to open up their pools and hot tubs should help to keep swimming a safe and healthy activity for Erie County residents this summer,” Dr. Burstein said. “And this cannot be said enough: never leave children unattended near any body of water, from backyard kiddie pools to lakes, rivers and ponds,” she continued.  “That means having at least one able-bodied adult with eyes on the water at all times – not looking at a cell phones or having a conversation.”


Erie County – Swimming and Recreational Water Safety:


CDC – Healthy and Safe Swimming Week: