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Journal of Water and Health Vol 07 No 1 pp 9–20 © IWA Publishing 2009 doi:10.2166/wh.2009.122

A sea change ahead for recreational water quality criteria

Alexandria B. Boehm, Nicholas J. Ashbolt, John M. Colford, Lee E. Dunbar, Lora E. Fleming, Mark A. Gold, Joel A. Hansel, Paul R. Hunter, Audrey M. Ichida, Charles D. McGee, Jeffrey A. Soller and Stephen B. Weisberg

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA Tel.: 650-724-9128 Fax: 650-725-3164 E-mail: aboehm@stanford.edu
National Exposure Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, United States, Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH, USA
Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health University of California, Berkeley, CA USA
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Hartford, CT, USA
Departments of Epidemiology & Public Health and Marine Biology & Fisheries, Miller School of Medicine and Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, NSF NIEHS Oceans and Human Health Center, Miami, FL USA
Heal the Bay, Monica, CA, USA
United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 4, Atlanta, GA, USA
Medical School, University of East Anglia, Anglia, UK
ICF International, Fairfax, VA, USA
Orange County Sanitation District, Fountain Valley, CA, USA
Soller Environmental, 3022 King St, Berkeley, CA, USA
Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, Costa Mesa, CA, USA


ABSTRACT

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is committed to developing new recreational water quality criteria for coastal waters by 2012 to provide increased protection to swimmers. We review the uncertainties and shortcomings of the current recreational water quality criteria, describe critical research needs for the development of new criteria, as well as recommend a path forward for new criteria development. We believe that among the most needed research needs are the completion of epidemiology studies in tropical waters and in waters adversely impacted by urban runoff and animal feces, as well as studies aimed to validate the use of models for indicator and pathogen concentration and health risk predictions.

Keywords: epidemiology; indicators; pathogens; risk; swimming; water criteria


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