Many hotel swimming pools in some of the most popular holiday resorts for British tourists are a health risk, a Consumers’ Association survey published in Holiday Which? magazine has found.
The CA took samples from 80 pools to test for microbiological contamination. One in four pools tested for bacteria in Majorca and Corfu were condemned as a health hazard.
Six of them were heavily contaminated with faecal bacteria possibly caused by babies or toddlers fouling the pool. This would have put swimmers at risk of developing of range of health problems, including diarrhoea, sickness, stomach cramps and fever. Others had sufficiently high levels of bacteria to represent a hazard.
Chlorine levels were so high in seven pools that they risked bleaching bathing suits and causing irritation to the eyes and skin of swimmers.
Five pools contained no traces of disinfectant at all leaving bathers at risk of picking up infections from bacteria in the water.
Five pools contained no traces of disinfectant, putting swimmers at risk of infection, particularly ear infections. Another 29 pools were a potential health hazard, while just two of the 80 were given a completely clean bill of health.
Majorcan resorts where pools were tested included Alcudia and Puerto de Pollensa, while most of the Corfu pools were in the resort of Sidari.
Holiday Which? managing editor Kim Winter said: “Our evidence of gross bacterial contamination shows the apparent incompetence of most hotels at maintaining effective levels of disinfectant in their pools, posing a serious health hazard.”
The CA advises people not to swim in pools which are overcrowded, since water treatment systems may be overwhelmed, or if chlorine smells pungent, an indication that it had reacted with pollutants.