International Fitness responds after claims pool caused skin rashes

An inspection at the end of March found higher-than-recommended levels of a chemical that can cause some people to develop rashes.

Posted: Apr 1, 2019 7:23 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Lane County Environmental Health officials are planning a follow-up inspection after some people claim they developed a skin rash after swimming at the International Fitness pool in Springfield. A previous inspection found higher-than-recommended levels of a chemical used to keep the pool clean.

April Curtis said she first developed the rash in December and doesn't plan on going back. She said at least 20 people have come down with the rashes.

"My whole body just felt like it was totally covered with itching," Curtis said. "One of those things where I was tearing my clothes off trying to get into the shower to rinse whatever was on off."

Jason Davis with Health and Human Services said the initial inspection at the end of March found 12 parts per million of bromide, the chemical used to keep the pool clean. In the eyes of state regulators, three to five parts per million is ideal, with eight being the max.

Davis said between 4 and 8 percent of the population can develop rashes as a result of increased bromide levels.

International Fitness facilities manager Brian Potter disputed the results of the last inspection. Potter told KEZI 9 News that he added another product to the pool beforehand, which gave a false result.

Davis said the follow-up inspection will not only look at the levels of bromide, but also at other potential problems. Davis said they can only ask companies to voluntarily comply with the bromide recommendations, and they cannot cite them for having increased levels.

Troy Finfrock, the owner of International Fitness, said they are looking at lowering the levels of bromide in the pool, while still keeping them high enough to keep the pool clean. He also said they are looking at switching to liquid chlorine but said some people can also develop rashes from that.

Curtis said she wishes the company had let her know about the possible risks, and Finfrock said he would not be against adding a sign.

Mary Beth Ross swims at the pool and said she has never experienced any problems.

"I've never had an issue, and I have friends that come here that never have any issues," Ross said.

Health concerns can be reported to Lane County Environmental Health at 541-682-4480.

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