RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Environment North Carolina analyzed beaches in dozens of coastal and Great Lake states and Puerto Rico to determine how safe beaches were to swim in across the country. Researchers said 57 million people get sick every from contaminated beaches, rivers, lakes or ponds.
Overall, the team found 386, or one in eight beaches surveyed, were potentially unsafe at least 25 percent of test days. Another 3,172 were potentially unsafe for swimming on at least one test day.
Source: Environment North Carolina
Overall, Gulf Coast beaches were the most polluted and unsafe for swimmers. Environment North Carolina found 223 out of 266 test sites had heightened levels of pollutants. East Coast beaches were the least polluted with 928 out of 1,820 sites testing potentially unsafe.
Environment North Carolina found 93 of 209 North Carolina beaches sampled tested positive for fecal contamination on at least one test day.
Beaches where samples were taken tested safe for swimmers a majority of the time. While some beaches in other states were unsafe up to 100 percent of test days (see table in ‘Most contaminated beaches nationwide’ section) North Carolina beaches were largely safe at least 70 percent of test days.