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Controversial New Pool & Spa Safety Act Will Create Public Pool Closures Nationwide
Date:12/12/2008

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Most of the 300,000 public pools and spas in the U.S. are required to close on December 19, 2008 according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) if they do not comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (the Act). The Act was named honoring Miss Baker, granddaughter of James Baker III, former U.S. Secretary of State, who died in 2002 when entrapped on a drain in a private in-ground spa. "Even though we fully support the goal of the Act, forcing public pools and spas to close has unexpected and undesirable consequence," states Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D., and CEO of the National Swimming Pool Foundation(R) (NSPF(R)). Suction entrapment claims about one to two victims per year based on historic data from the CPSC. In contrast, drowning claimed the lives of 761 children aged 14 and under in 2004 and those numbers may increase since fewer children will attend swim lessons when pools are closed.

The new federal law requires all public pools and spas, including those at community parks, YMCAs, apartments, condominiums, and other homeowner associations, waterparks, hotels, schools, and universities to be equipped with drain covers that are certified to comply with the new ASME/ANSI 2007 standard, as well as other safety measures to prevent entrapment and evisceration. CPSC, the enforcing agency of the Act, may impose enormous financial penalties and seek imprisonment for violators.

"Swimming pool operators support preventing entrapment," says Dr. Lachocki. NSPF has funded suction entrapment and drowning prevention research for decades and trains over 20,000 pool and spa operators each year. "Despite good faith efforts, organizations nationwide will not comply with this law by the deadline for reasons that are outside of their control," asserts Lachocki, who outlines the current issues to include:

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SOURCE National Swimming Pool Foundation
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