Summer is almost here, and one of the ways to stay out of the heat is to take a dip in the pool.

But how clean is the water?

According to a new survey presented by the Water Quality and Health Council, 51% of Americans reported using a swimming pool as a communal bathtub — using the pool as an alternative to showering or rinsing off after engaging in exercise or yard work. Even though 64% of Americans know pool chemicals don’t eliminate the need to shower, people continue to do it anyway.

“When dirt, sweat, personal care products, and other things on our bodies react with chlorine, there is less chlorine available to kill germs,” said Dr. Chris Wiant, chair of the Water Quality & Health Council. “Rinsing off for just 1 minute removes most of the dirt, sweat, or anything else on your body.”

The 2019 Healthy Pools survey, released Tuesday, was conducted online by Sachs Media Group and measured perceptions and behaviors related to swimming pools and public health. The organization interviewed 3,100 Americans adults on April 12 and 13. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7% at the 95% confidence level and was nationally representative of American adults in terms of age, race, gender, income and region.

The survey comes as experts from the council, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance work to educate the public on healthy and safe swimming.

Along with not showering before entering a pool, 40% of Americans admitted they have peed in the pool as an adult. Urine reacts with chlorine, reducing the amount of chemicals available to kill germs. 

The survey also revealed that 24% of Americans would go in a pool within one hour of having diarrhea, and 48% reported that they never shower before swimming. Most people did not know that pool chemistry can be impacted by personal care items such as makeup (53%) and deodorant (55%).


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