Wednesday 15 February 2012

Step Away From The Sandcastle!

Child abusers, pictured yesterday

Having met a few health-terrified parents in my time, I sometimes wonder how pitifully boring their kids' lives must be. Here's a brand new health scare - from the US EPA, no less - which could well wreck many a child's summer holiday.
People take certain precautions when they go to the beach. They apply sunscreen to avoid sunburn and stay away from big waves if they are not strong swimmers. But they do not usually worry about getting sick from digging or playing in the sand.

Unfortunately, beach sand could harbor even more harmful bacteria than nearby bathing waters. EPA researchers and their counterparts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Johns Hopkins University observed a positive relationship between sand exposure and gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses as a function of fecal microbial pollution in beach sand.
And where did this 'fecal' pollution come from?
[...] 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.
Yeah, that might have had something to do with it, not that you'd notice from the bald headline which, let's face it, is about the point at which most people make up their minds about this kind of report.
Digging in beach sand linked to increased risk of gastrointestinal illness
Once the Chinese whispers begin in earnest - especially if the Mail get wind of this - it could be the end of days on the beach for Johnny and Jemima Precious. Well, not without latex gloves and a face mask, anyway.

Can't be too careful, eh?


Jay said...

First, this:  (it's safe, don't worry ... the link was just really long, and it's relevant and funny.)

Second, re sunblock.  We used to slather baby oil on our skin when I was a wee lad.  It wasn't a day at the beach unless you returned home looking like a cooked lobster.  I believe we called it our "base tan" back then.

david said...

Yep, been there, worn the t shirt for 9 days of a 10 ten day holiday. Still bear the scars 50 years later.....

ianrthorpe said...

Better not take the children to the woods for a picnic either then, we all know what shits there don't we?