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Am J Public Health. 2004 Apr;94(4):565-7.

Health effects associated with recreational coastal water use: urban versus rural California.

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Environmental Health Science and Policy Program, Department of Environmental Health, Science, and Policy, University of California, Irvine, 92612, USA.


We compared rates of reported health symptoms among surfers in urban North Orange County (NOC) and rural Santa Cruz County (SCC), California, during 2 winters (1998 and 1999) to determine whether symptoms were associated with exposure to urban runoff. NOC participants reported almost twice as many symptoms as SCC participants during the 1998 winter. In both study years, risk increased across symptom categories by an average of 10% for each 2.5 hours of weekly water exposure. Our findings suggest that discharging untreated urban runoff onto public beaches can pose health risks.

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