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Model Aquatic Health Code Guidance

photo of pool testing The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is a free, evidence-based guide to make swimming and other water activities healthier and safer. The MAHC is a tool for state and local health departments to use to develop codes and regulations that reduce risk for waterborne disease outbreaks, chemical poisonings, drownings, and other injuries in pool and other recreational water venues.

In the United States, no federal regulatory authority is responsible for ensuring safe aquatic facilities (e.g., swimming pools, water parks, etc.); all pool codes are developed, reviewed, and approved individually by state and/or local public health officials.  Consequently, no uniform national standards have existed regarding the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of swimming pools; the MAHC is being developed to fill this void.

The MAHC has been developed through a collaborative effort involving academia, public health, and industry. The input from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has drawn from expertise in the areas of environmental health, infectious disease, public health law, and injury prevention.

Environmental Health Services has been involved in this effort since the beginning, contributing subject-matter expertise to the development of the MAHC, helping manage the MAHC’s various technical and steering committees, and working with code-making organizations to align pool-related codes with key public health principles. In addition, Environmental Health Services is helping to develop recommendations and tools to make it easier for environmental health professionals at local, state, tribal and territorial levels to use and customize the MAHC.

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