Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insights into when beach sand may become unsafe for digging and other contact

Date:
April 11, 2012
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
With summer days at the beach on the minds of millions of winter-weary people, a new study provides health departments with information needed to determine when levels of disease-causing bacteria in beach sand could pose a risk to children and others who dig or play in the sand.

How safe are our beaches?
Credit: ACS

With summer days at the beach on the minds of millions of winter-weary people, a new study provides health departments with information needed to determine when levels of disease-causing bacteria in beach sand could pose a risk to children and others who dig or play in the sand. The report appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Tomoyuki Shibata and Helena M. Solo-Gabriele explain that disease-causing bacteria from sewage can cause skin infections and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders in people who come into contact with contaminated water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has guidelines to determine when microbe levels in water are high enough to pose an unacceptable risk of GI illness for contact with both ocean water and freshwater. Microbes, however, tend to concentrate in higher levels in beach sand -- to the point where one previous study found that the sand on one fingertip, placed in the mouth, had enough germs to cause GI illness. No guidelines exist to determine when contact with beach sand might be too risky for children and others who play in beach sand, digging in it or being buried in the sand. The scientists set out to fill that knowledge gap.

The scientists used millions of computer simulations and measurements of disease-causing microbes at beaches in California and Florida to determine how many bacteria would have to be present in beach sand to exceed the EPA's guideline for water. In doing so, they established "reference levels" for beach sand that correspond to the EPA risk guidelines for water. The focus of children at the beach environment is especially important, due to play behavior at beach sites that would increase a child's exposure, the scientists noted.

The authors acknowledge funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tomoyuki Shibata, Helena M. Solo-Gabriele. Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment of Human Illness from Exposure to Marine Beach Sand. Environmental Science & Technology, 2012; 120222080033007 DOI: 10.1021/es203638x

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "New insights into when beach sand may become unsafe for digging and other contact." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120411120510.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2012, April 11). New insights into when beach sand may become unsafe for digging and other contact. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120411120510.htm
American Chemical Society. "New insights into when beach sand may become unsafe for digging and other contact." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120411120510.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) Organizers of the People's Climate March and other rallies taking place in 166 countries hope to move U.N. officials to action ahead of their summit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins