The nanny state’s latest endeavor to save the American people from terrible blight: helping you to keep sand out of your shorts at the beach.
A new study produced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that playing in the sand during a beach outing can make you sick. A report entitled Digging in Beach Sand Linked to Increased Risk of Gastrointestinal Illness — which outlines just what the EPA does with the massive amounts of taxpayer dollars allocated for its research — determines that the risk of falling ill could increase after playing in beach sand.
The report’s methodology is as follows:
In one of the first studies to show this association, the researchers analyzed 144 wet sand samples collected from Fairhope Municipal Park Beach in Fairhope, AL, and Goddard Memorial State Park Beach in Warwick, RI. Both beaches are located less than 2 miles from a publicly owned waste treatment-works outfall. The researchers then tested the samples for bacterial indicators of fecal contamination, namely, Enterococcus, Bacteroidales, fecal Bacteroides, and Clostridium, as well as a viral indicator called F+ coliphage.
The researchers also asked 4,999 people who visited these beaches about their contact with beach sand and their swimming behaviors and other beach activities. Approximately 2 weeks later, they called the participants and asked them about any diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and/or stomach ache that they and other members of their household may have experienced. Too, they asked about activities that might have taken place since the initial interview, such as going back to same beach, swimming in a pool, or eating raw or undercooked foods.
The result of the extensive research from the government agency noted a positive association between Bacteroidales and diarrhea among those who reported digging in the sand and being buried in the sand. Many of those who reported playing in the sand also swam in the water.
Not heavily noted in the EPA research is the fact that the risk of gastrointestinal illness from swimming in waters contaminated with fecal matter was known long before the 12 EPA researchers spent hours and monetary resources collecting 144 wet sand samples and conducting 5,000 interviews to reach their conclusion.
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