Beaches to Avoid This July 4th
Angelenos beware: If you plan to spend your Independence Day soaking up rays on the beach, it might be wise to stay out of the water.
That's according to the Natural Resources Defense Council's 21st annual report on beach water quality, which reveals the nation's dirtiest lake and seaside beaches. Southern California snagged the most spots on a list of "repeat offenders," where contamination—mostly from human and animal waste in storm runoff—exceeded national standards at least a quarter of the time over the last four years.
Overall, 2010 saw the second-highest number of beach closures and health advisories in the past two decades. Beaches were scored based not only on water quality, but also on how accessible local officials made that information to the public.
NRDC officials cited everything from the stomach flu and pink eye to dysentery and hepatitis as illnesses that can strike swimmers, adding that animal waste can exacerbate algal blooms that have health consequences for marine life. And you thought the local water park was bad.
"A day at the beach shouldn't have to come with a skin rash as a souvenir," NRDC water expert David Beckman said.