As top vacation destinations in the country, beaches are critical for recreation and the U.S. economy. Specifically, California’s coastal tourism, which generates substantial revenues, is largely dependent on clean waters. Yet, every year, millions of people become sick after visiting America’s beaches. This can ruin not only your vacation, but can lead to lost work and productivity.
A new EPA proposal to address pollution at U.S. beaches contains the startling conclusion that EPA thinks it is acceptable for 1 in 28 people to get sick when they go to the beach! Children are especially vulnerable, perhaps because they tend to submerge their heads more often and are more likely to swallow water when swimming. Imagine a school field trip to the beach – for every large conventional school bus, nearly three kids are put at risk of getting an illness like diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
EPA’s proposal also allows water testing to be averaged over a period as long as 90 days and for one in every four samples to exceed safe levels before pollution reduction is required. Both of these approaches could mask a serious pollution problem and expose families to an unnecessary risk of illness. Families shouldn’t be exposed to high levels of bacteria—and have increased chances of getting sick—just because the levels of contamination are lower on one day than on another. Beachgoers don’t need loopholes like this in the safety standards that are supposed to protect us.
Please tell EPA to make sure America’s beaches are safe for all beachgoers, especially children.