Friday, July 17, 2009

Building sandcastles out of worry

As if we don't have enough to worry about, just trying to enjoy life here in South Florida (the traffic! the cost of living! the unemployment! the crowds! the heat index! the sun exposure!), now comes news that another danger might be lurking as you spend a relaxing day at the beach: in the SAND!!

A recent story in the San Diego Times Union talks about the health risks from contaminated sand found on many beaches. Apparently, people who play in the sand -- building sandcastles, being buried, etc. -- run a slightly higher risk of coming down with diarrhea and other ailments associated with the kind of fecal contaminants that were found in sand sampled for the study.

Says the story: "The report's authors ... think it's important to caution people about the bird droppings, urban runoff, sewage and other contaminants that pollute sand. 'Take care to use a hand sanitizer or wash hands after playing in the sand,' said Tim Wade, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who helped write the study."

Egads!

Of course, this might all be making a sand-mountain out of a molehill. I mean, isn't the water polluted enough already? And you don't see many people shunning the beach because of that. So what's a little more contamination among beach-going friends? Plus, I suspect that here in South Florida -- in the summer, at least -- the sand gets hot enough to burn off (or kill off) any nasty stuff. (It sure burns off the bottoms of your feet!)

So go ahead and enjoy your day at the beach!

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