After enjoying a day at the beach, most people want to rinse off the salt and sand, but a study from Environment America's Research and Policy Center reveals a better reason for showering after that dip.
The environmental group conducted a bacteria sampling study to determine which beaches in the United States are the dirtiest. Their analysis found more than 2,600 beaches in 29 coastal and Great Lakes states, as well as Puerto Rico, were potentially unsafe for swimming at least one day in 2018.
New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware all had beaches that made the list.
Beach sites were categorized as unsafe if the bacteria levels in the water exceeded the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s most protective “Beach Action Value” threshold, the level at which the EPA estimates 32 out of every 1,000 swimmers could get sick from roaming in these waters.
The dirtiest beach in Pennsylvania was Beach 11 West in Thompson Bay in Erie County. A bacteria analysis at Beach 11 West was found potentially unsafe for 17 days, more days than any other beach site in Pennsylvania.
In New Jersey, Beachwood Beach West in Berkeley Township, Ocean County, was listed as the dirtiest beach in the state. According to the report, Beachwood Beach West in Ocean County was potentially unsafe for 14 days. Overall, 133 out of the 356 beach sites sampled in New Jersey were deemed unsafe at least one day in 2018.
In the First State, Slaughter Beach in Sussex County was recorded as having the highest levels of bacteria in Delaware. Slaughter Beach is one of seven beach sites in Delaware out of 23 tested that were were found unsafe for at least one day last year. Slaughter Beach was potentially unsafe for 16 days, according to Environment America's analysis.
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On a national scale, the East Coast had the lowest percentage of beach sites that recorded at least one day of unsafe bacteria levels compared to other parts of the country. Beaches on the Gulf Coast had the most, with 85% of sites labeled as potentially unsafe at least one day, followed by the Great Lakes with 75% and the West Coast with 37%.