Going to the beach is one of the most popular summer activities, but according to the National Resources Defense Council’s new report on polluted beaches, you should be careful which ones you visit. Senior citizens, children and people with weakened immune systems might be more at risk.
Since the beginning of the Gulf oil disaster there have been nearly 9,500 oil-related beach notices. Normally oil issues are not the main culprit in beach advisories or closings, it is bacterial pollution. Almost 75% of the beach closings and notices from last year were due to contamination from improperly treated sewage and stormwater runoff. Although most beach visitors don’t get sick, potential illnesses from contaminated beaches are skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, meningitis and hepatitis.
Three southern Calfornia beaches were among the worst in the country: Avalon Beach on Catalina Island, Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro and Doheny State Beach in Dana Point. According to the report, the most polluted beaches in Florida were Bayou Chico, Hagen’s Cove and Garniers. The worst Chicago beaches were South Shore, Rainbow Beach, Jackson Park (63rd Street) Beach, Montrose Beach and 31st Street Beach.
“Americans are swimming in pollution, including human and animal waste and it is making them sicků Pathogens from storm-water runoff can cause a hose of illnesses, including gastroenteritis, stomach ailments, skin rashes, pinkeye, ear nose and throat problems and respiratory ailments,”
said an NRDC attorney. (Source: CBS)
To find information about beach issues in your area or where you are traveling, city and county public health, and park websites are generally a good bet.
Image Credit: Wilfredo R. Rodriguez H.