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. 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. Your action can help protect public health not only in California, but on a national level.
Voice your concerns to EPA’s Administrator, Lisa Jackson, and urge her to utilize the best available science to strengthen the existing 1986 criteria, which inadequately protects public health.