The World Health Organization has published
comprehensive health and safety guidelines for swimming
pools and hot tubs the first international
standard of its kind.
The document, ?Guidelines for Safe Recreational
Water: Swimming Pools and Similar Environments,?
took more than 10 years to develop and involved the
participation of more than 60 experts from 20
?We?re seeing an ever-greater use of
rivers, lakes, pools, spas and other bathing facilities in
both developing and developed countries,? said Dr.
Maria Neira, director of WHO?s Department of Public
Health and the Environment. ?Unfortunately, the
benefits are tempered by rising rates of death, injury and
disease associated with their use.?
The guidelines advocate simple measures with proven
track records. They include effective lifeguard
supervision, better water quality and ventilation
management and improved responses to ?fecal
While the standards are voluntary, safety advocates say
they will be a boon to developing countries. But developed
countries should benefit as well. In the United States, for
example, bathing codes vary wildly from state to state.
Chris Brewster, president of the International Life Saving
Federation, Americas Region, said the guidelines could
provide a tool for those seeking changes. ?Any kind
of improvement in regulations requires a champion,?
he said. ?What WHO is providing is the ammo
required by a champion willing to take up the
A copy of the guidelines can be found atwww.who.int.