Reasons for Avoiding Public Pools

Off topic, but summer is coming, and try as I might, I couldn’t help but read a story Instapundit links to about how gross pool water can be, especially at publicly run pools. I used to spend a good deal of time at the swim club as a kid. It gave us something to do while my mother, who was a stay at home mom, gossiped with all the other stay at home moms. I’m glad to hear private swim clubs tested the best, at only 50% of pools being contaminated with fecal material. Maybe as a kid I got lucky. It’s one of those things you probably don’t want to know, but probably should. And if that’s not bad enough, there’s brain eating amoebas to worry about too.

10 thoughts on “Reasons for Avoiding Public Pools”

  1. I’ve long resigned myself to the fact that this whole world is filthy. That’s why it’ll be fire next time.

  2. What did you expect at public pools, you let the politicians in the water and soon the water is full of …..

  3. I’m reminiscing about the days when there were dozens of places in Bucks County where people stopped by the side of the road and swam in swimming holes in creeks — that were mostly covered bank to bank with green algae and scum, as a result of all the septic tanks whose overflow pipes hung right over the creeks. (My family’s favorite swimming hole was where the old iron bridge is over the Neshaminy Creek at Bridgetown Pike — yes, that was once swimmable, and sizeable crowds swam and picnicked there, before government began to actively discourage swimming in creeks and rivers.) I also swam in the Delaware River under the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, back in the days when raw sewage was dumped straight into the river, and every now and then you’d push a turd or condom out of the way.

    I guess if I have a point, it is that “all things are relative.” Today the waters are wonderfully cleaned up. But when I’m kayaking with some of my friends, and we stop along a creek to take a swim, they often get ear infections swimming in “clean” water they used to swim in every day when we were kids and the septic tanks added to the flow. Go figure.

    1. A reflection I need to add: My father and his brothers were all Delaware River swimmers in Philadelphia, back in the ’20s and ’30s when the river was really filthy.

      My dad’s kid brother was captured at Corregidor and spent the entire war in Jap prison camps. Everybody including him got dysentery, multiple times, but he was one of only eight, out of 350+ men captured with his unit, to survive the war. I have often wondered if the “inoculations” he got from swimming in filth when he was a kid, contributed to his survival.

      1. There’s probably a good bit of truth to that. There’s some pretty credible theories that the spread of allergies has to do with people being poorly exposed to foreign pathogens that are naturally found in dirt and foul water. Kids these days don’t play enough in dirt or swim enough in untreated water, as the theory goes, so they have more allergies. Their immune systems haven’t had the experience to sort out friend from foe, or at least that which is harmless from foe.

        1. I also forgot to add that my uncle is still around at 92, and still going, if not strong. I will not be surprised if he makes it to 100.

  4. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. The media’s reporting on any kind of scientific findings is always sensationalized. If they did the same kind of study on ocean water, they’d find far worse yet we eat animals that live in that stuff.

    Heck, for fun one day, get one of those “do it yourself bacteria culture” kits from Amazon and pull a swab from your toothbrush. The fecal coliform levels on it would more than likely rival those found in the swimming pool water. Every time you flush your toilet, some of the poo/pee water in it is vaporized and goes into the air and lands all over the place. If your toothbrush is in the same room…guess what. Fun fact: it can even make it as far as your kitchen. (Mythbusters verified, btw)

    Don’t even get me started on your bed pillows…

    1. Gee, I never lived in a house with an indoor toilet until I was 23 (except for time in the Army) and little did I realize how much healthier that was!

  5. This is of more than academic interest to me these days; but the research really does seem to indicate that there is a level of exposure to foreign materials that is beneficial – living aseptically is bad in a different way from living in filth.

    (You really want to explode some heads? The very latest research may indicate that a small amount of airborne radioactives, such as radon, is healthy as well; IE that the linear dosage model is not only wrong but wrong-headed.)

  6. ” there is a level of exposure to foreign materials that is beneficial”

    I recall reading that there are native tribes in Africa, that practice extensive tattooing by pricking their skin with thorns, sufficient to cause scarring. It is said that empirically, they have lower rates of infections from other things, presumably due to the low-level bacterial inoculations they experience with the tattooing process.

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