America’s Beaches Closed?

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

( – In at least 10 states officials were forced to close beaches or issue advisory warnings against swimming due to the high concentration of bacteria in the water. 

The closures which affected the Fourth of July holiday, were often related to the presence of fecal waste bacteria, while in other areas the presence of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria which is found in freshwater led to the closures. 

In New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, and Florida there were reports in the past week of unsafe fecal waste levels in some beaches. In Illinois specifically, the advisories were issued for 16 beaches, while in Michigan there were two beach closures and an additional five advisories. 

Six locations in Vermont were also placed on high alert because of the cyanobacteria found in the water, with officials warning residents to not swim there. 

Across the United States multiple beaches each year close because of the high levels of bacteria. Environmental Research and Policy Center Environment America has found that over half of the beaches that are tested per day, often multiple times in the same day, were found in 2022 to have unsafe levels of fecal contamination. 

High bacteria levels in swimming waters have been found to have a connection to skin infections and gastrointestinal illness, especially in the case of children and other individuals who have a weakened immune system. 

Research has suggested that climate change has been causing increases in cyanobacterial algal bloom, exposure to which could cause health issues, as the toxic produced by this bacteria can cause liver, kidney, and reproductive system lifelong problems.

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