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Report: Hundreds Of Swimmers Die Every Year Getting Tangled Up In Plastic Lane Dividers

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ATLANTA—In a disturbing report published Tuesday on a rising trend in U.S. pools, researchers at Emory University found that hundreds of swimmers die each year after getting tangled up in plastic lane dividers. “Our results indicate that nearly four in 10 swimmers who enter a pool with plastic lane dividers get hopelessly trapped in them, and many end up starving to death,” said study co-author Sylvia Wiley, adding that the percentage of swimmers who perish after a multiday entanglement was consistent across all demographic groups, as well as in both indoor and outdoor pools. “We simply must do more to avoid losing nearly 1,000 people every year to plastic lane dividers. Our study presents a cautionary tale about putting plastic lines in pools, which all too often result in a lap swimmer accidentally veering into them and getting snarled in the plastic, or a wayward child asphyxiating themselves after the lane divider becomes wrapped around their neck. Unfortunately, if this trend continues, we’ve projected that by 2060, the recreational swimmer population could dwindle down to almost nothing.” The study also found that around 500 people die every year after choking on pairs of swim goggles that have been mistakenly left in pools.