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Pathogens Call Many Sandy Beaches Their Home – Beware!

Aug 28, 2015 01:05 PM EDT
Crowded Beach
Beaches contain many pathogens in their sands. While there are not current implications of remediation plans, scientists make many suggestions on how to stay safe on sandy beaches in their new study.
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons )

A new study by the University of Miami and international researchers has shifted the focus from the microbes in the ocean water to those in beach sand to better protect beachgoers.

The University's study, recently published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, recommends that regulators of recreational beaches monitor their sand more closely.

"Beach sands accumulate contaminants and people can get exposed to these contaminants during beach recreational activities," Solo-Gabriele, professor at the University of Miami College of Engineering and teh study's co-author, said in a statement. "Hopefully this paper will make a difference in convincing regulators of the need to include sand in beach monitoring programs."

Their research was also comprised of all pervious data collected from beaches in the U.K., Portugal and the U.S. to date.

"This publication is a landmark paper," co-author João Brandão said in a statement. "It wraps it all up and hopefully lays down the foundation for the future."

The scientists also note that the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially recommended examining the effects of sand quality on beach goers since 2003; however, "no country has implemented this recommendation."

This study does, however, recommend the following:

• identifying the disease causing agent(s), so that they can be monitored;
• implementing methods that estimate public health risks from various pathogens in the sand;
• studying exposure to microbes in the sand by contact, ingestion and inhalation;
• identifying the source of these pathogens, along with several other disease-preventing remedies.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

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