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What Are America’s Cleanest and Dirtiest Beaches?

Ryan Pierse, Getty Images

If you’re planning a waterfront vacation, it may alarm you to know that a new report reveals sewage and storm water pollution in beaches across the US could put your health at risk — and you might be surprised to learn which beaches are the cleanest.

Bacterial test results and public advisories from more than 3,000 beaches in 30 coastal and Great Lakes states were analyzed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which found that Delaware, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New Jersey and Florida had America’s cleanest beaches.

At the bottom of the pile? Louisiana, Ohio and Illinois. And California, long renowned for its beach fun, didn’t fare much better — it ranked No. 21 out of the 30 states in the number of beach water tests that failed to meet federal health standards.

Experts say a high bacteria count in beach water indicates it could harbor pathogens that may cause ailments like skin rashes and stomach and respiratory illnesses.

“We have an ongoing legacy of pollution at our beaches, and the problem is not going away,” said Noah Garrison, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s national water program. “We need to be doing more to solve the problem.”

[Los Angeles Times]

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