EMSL Analytical, Inc.

Many of the nation’s beaches found with high levels of contamination

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Courtesy of EMSL Analytical, Inc.

The frequency of public beach closures due to illnesses attributable to recreational water exposure has been a growing concern for health officials and the number of incidences and outbreaks in some areas has been increasing. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for setting water quality standards for the nation’s beaches and recreational waterways. According to a recent report from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 7% of beach water samples are not safe for swimming due to human or animal waste. The report also found that in 2008 there were 20,000 beach closings across the country caused by contamination. When high levels of contaminants are found the beaches are subject to being closed, but results from traditional testing methods take 24 hours or longer.

Swimming in polluted waters can lead to a number of serious health effects including infections, stomach viruses and even hepatitis. Fortunately new testing technologies have been developed that now allow for rapid analyses taking just a few hours instead of days. This is especially important since water quality conditions can change rapidly due to changes in weather, currents, and events in surrounding areas making old slower methods impractical.

EMSL Analytical, a leading national environmental laboratory, has been on the forefront of changing how water tests are conducted. In 2008 the laboratory was awarded a contract for rapid PCR detection of bacteria contamination in recreational water by the EPA.

“EMSL has a long history of providing these types of analytical testing services to protect people and the environment,” stated Joe Frasca, Executive Vice President at EMSL Analytical. “Our water testing laboratories are an important resource for government agencies, industry professionals and the general public,” Frasca continued.

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