Model Aquatic Health Code : the code
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Model Aquatic Health Code : the code

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    MAHC – the code, 1st edition, August 2014.

    The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is a set of voluntary guidelines based on science and best practices that were developed to help programs that regulate public aquatic facilities reduce the risk of disease, injury, and drowning in their communities. The MAHC is a leap forward from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) operational and technical manuals published in 1959, 1976, and 1981 and a logical progression of CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program started in 2001. The MAHC underscores CDC’s long-term involvement and commitment to improving aquatic health and safety. The MAHC guidance document stemmed from concern about the increasing number of pool-associated outbreaks starting in the mid-1990s. Creation of the MAHC was the major recommendation of a 2005 national workshop held in Atlanta, Georgia charged with developing recommendations to reduce these outbreaks. Federal, state, and local public health officials and the aquatics sector formed an unprecedented collaboration to create the MAHC as an all-encompassing health and safety guidance document. The partnership hopes this truly will lead to achieving the MAHC vision of “Healthy and Safe Aquatic Experiences for Everyone” in the future.

    In recent decades, public health practitioners have seen a dramatic increase in waterborne disease outbreaks associated with public disinfected AQUATIC FACILITIES (e.g. swimming pools, water parks, etc.). As a result, public health investigations have revealed that many diseases can be prevented by proper maintenance and water treatment and by more modern disease prevention practices. Drowning and falling, diving, chemical use, and suction injuries continue to be major public health injuries associated with public AQUATIC FACILITIES, particularly for young children. In this context, the health and safety at public AQUATIC FACILITIES is regulated by state and local jurisdictions since, in the United States, there is no federal regulatory authority responsible for these public AQUATIC FACILITIES. All public pool codes are developed, reviewed, and approved by state and/or local public health officials or legislatures. Consequently, there is no uniform national guidance informing the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of public swimming pools and other public disinfected AQUATIC FACILITIES. As a result, the code requirements for preventing and responding to recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and injuries can vary significantly among local and state agencies. State and local jurisdictions spend a great deal of time, personnel, and resources creating and updating their individual codes on a periodic basic.

    This information is distributed solely as guidance for the purpose of assisting state and local health departments, pool programs, building officials, the aquatics sector, and other interested parties in improving the health and safety at public aquatic facilities. This document does not address all health and safety concerns associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this document to establish appropriate health and safety practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to each use.

    The MAHC will be regularly updated at approximately 2-year intervals using stakeholder input gathered through a process overseen by the non-profit organization, the Conference for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC).


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