June 28, 2012

Health Officials Warn Of Disease Risk At Beaches & Pools

If you develop a rash after spending time at the beach, pool or lake... Please see your Dermatologist or Primary Care Physician.

Health officials, groups warn of disease risk at beaches and lakes.

The Wall Street Journal (6/28, Landro) "Health Blog" reports that many environmental groups and public-health agencies are currently warning of growing risks of contracting disease at beaches and lakes because of contamination resulting from storm-water runoff, sewage pollution and other causes. The blog post mentions, for example, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a significant increase in recent years in the number of illnesses and infections contracted through contact with recreational water.
        The New York Times (6/28, A20, Foderaro, Subscription Publication) notes that a report on water quality at the nation's beaches recently released by the Natural Resources Defense Council "has found that the number of closings and advisories from contamination concerns at New York State beaches rose sharply last year. It also warns that a new standard proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency could inadequately protect beachgoers." The report notes that "the findings in New York were in line with the national picture, which showed heavy rains causing sewage pollution and storm water runoff and prompting the third-highest number of closing and advisory days since the group began tracking recreational water more than 20 years ago."
        The AP (6/28, Subscription Publication) notes that the NRDC report mentions that Tropical Storm Irene caused a number of problems for beaches last year, forcing some beaches to close or prompting warnings at a rate almost double that of the previous year due to concerns about pollution.
        The New York Times (6/28, Slivka) "Green" blog reports that the most useful part of the NRDC report is "the group's one- to five-star rating system for 200 popular beaches, based on the amount of water testing done at the beach, the number of closings because of poor water quality, how quickly it is closed on low-water-quality days and the issuing of advisories. A map released with the report allows beachgoers to search for beaches in their ZIP code and check the council's assessment."
        The Los Angeles Times (6/28, Barboza) "L.A. Now" blog mentions that according to the report, the top source of contamination in recreational water "is runoff that is swept into the ocean by rainfall or irrigation, accounting for about 47% of the beach pollution last year. Beaches along the Gulf of Mexico continued to be hit with closures and advisories related to the 2010 oil spill."
        The Detroit Free Press (6/28, Bly) adds that the NRDC report "found that water quality at America's beaches remained largely stable last year, with 8% of water samples violating public health standards, the same as the previous year. But there were 23,481 closing and advisory days in 2011, the third-highest level since NRDC began compiling their reports in 1990." Reuters (6/28, Ebrahim), the CNN (6/28, Wadas-Willingham) "The Chart" blog, and HealthDay (6/28, Gray) offer similar coverage.

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