If you're heading to the beach soon to beat the Summer heat, you might want to see how clean it is. Recently, we learned that playing in the sand can increase your risk of developing gastrointestinal ailments, and the water might not be too clean either.
The National Resource Defense Council just released its annual report on the cleanliness of our beaches, and unfortunately some did not pass muster. Let's start with the top ranked beaches based on water quality and frequency the water is tested — the cleanest are in California, Minnesota (land of 10,000 lakes), and New Hampshire. The dirtiest are in the Northeast and Florida. Both water and sand become polluted from runoff water that drains into the ocean after a storm. The runoff collects pesticides, pet waste, road grease, etc., and all this ends up in the water. The polluted water can lead to a variety of health problems from skin rashes to neurological disorders.
You can check out your beach with this NRDC chart or this interactive map from the Environmental Protection Agency. Unfortunately, with budget shortfalls in most states, the beaches are not being monitored as closely as they once were. Just remember to steer clear of the beach after a heavy rainstorm.