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New Jersey beaches: Sun, sand, surf--and E. coli?

are new jersey beaches full or bacteria? It’s well known that the human body is crawling with bacteria—from the ankle to the, well, armpit. But unbeknown to New Jersey bathers, their beaches might be, too.

Even if waters at a Garden State beach test positive for an unhealthy level of bacteria, the state waits for a second round of testing before issuing a warning or closing the beach. The additional testing frequently takes another day, notes an Associated Press report, a day that can put swimmers at risk.

“These rules are so old and antiquated they could literally make you sick,” Cindy Zipf, executive director of the Clean Ocean Action group—a New Jersey-based environmental nonprofit, which is one of many drawing attention to the state’s beach-closure policy—told the AP. “We want the state to give people the right to know whether the water they are swimming in is contaminated with fecal material, or whether it’s safe to go in,” she said. California, Delaware, Maryland, New York City, Rhode Island and Virginia all let the public know if one water quality test comes up bum, a Clean Ocean Action staffer reported. Common complaints from the beaches include earaches and viruses, often in children, who are more susceptible to contaminants.

The state says that the regulations are under review and might be revised as soon as next summer. But with 62 days of the season still left, swimmers might not be ready to hang up the beach towel for the summer.

Image of a busy N.J. beach courtesy of tedkerwin via Flickr

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