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Mar Pollut Bull. 2012 May;64(5):912-8. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.03.009. Epub 2012 Apr 1.

Comparison of recreational health risks associated with surfing and swimming in dry weather and post-storm conditions at Southern California beaches using quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA).

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Irvine, CA 926917, USA.


Southern California is an increasingly urbanized hotspot for surfing, thus it is of great interest to assess the human illness risks associated with this popular ocean recreational water sport from exposure to fecal bacteria contaminated coastal waters. Quantitative microbial risk assessments were applied to eight popular Southern California beaches using readily available enterococcus and fecal coliform data and dose-response models to compare health risks associated with surfing during dry weather and storm conditions. The results showed that the level of gastrointestinal illness risks from surfing post-storm events was elevated, with the probability of exceeding the US EPA health risk guideline up to 28% of the time. The surfing risk was also elevated in comparison with swimming at the same beach due to ingestion of greater volume of water. The study suggests that refinement of dose-response model, improving monitoring practice and better surfer behavior surveillance will improve the risk estimation.

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