Environmental Protection Agency Says Beach Sand Can Make You Sick

The beach has all sorts of ways to punish you for daring to relax and enjoy life. The sun can burn you and give you cancer, while the water can drown and poison you. Then there’s the sand, which can contain pathogens that make you feel like a Patriots fan the day after yet another crushing Super Bowl humiliation at the hands of the Giants.

According to a study led by the Environmental Protection Agency, the L.A. Times reports, the sand poses more of a risk than the water or sun. Researchers interviewed those who had spent time at beaches in Rhode Island and Alabama and concluded that those who dug in the sand were more likely to have suffered symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Those who buried themselves in the sand faced the greatest risk.

Definitely keep the study results in mind the next time you’ve just dug up a sand castle and start craving a snack. An EPA rep says the news isn’t a reason not to enjoy the beach. But you should wash up before you eat and after you leave the area.

EPA: Playing in beach sand bigger health risk than ocean itself [L.A. Times]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Me - now with more humidity says:

    +10 for the perfectly executed Super Bowl tie-in 8-)

  2. Quirk Sugarplum says:

    Pfft. Everybody knows Earth is a filthy, filthy girl. Her skin is covered in creepy-crawlies and don’t even get me started about what’s going on down in her warm wet places. You should *always* wear protection when being intimate with her.

  3. Toffeemama is looking for a few good Otters says:

    Well I cannot believe how little regard this Sand corporation has for its customers! The Ocean-Beach mega-conglomerates need to stand up for the little guy, especially in this age of information. Don’t they know what kind of bad publicity they send by not only making people sick, but they don’t even apologize in an email! I hope they at least refund these peoples’ money. I, for one, am never shopping at The Beach again!

    • Quirk Sugarplum says:

      We didn’t used to have this problem until they started using knockoff Chinese sand! While people are dying on our beaches by the thousands, scores of US sand mills sit idle.

      Is this what we fought for at Bunker Hill? NO!

      When the Wright Brothers took off from Kitty Hawk, did they worry about the sand beneath their wings? NO!

      When Frankie and Annette froliced on the beach, did they worry about diseased sand caking up around their privates? NO!

      We need to do something. Call your Congressman today!

      • Toffeemama is looking for a few good Otters says:

        I wonder how long it’s going to take to cook up a class-action lawsuit against the makers of Sand. Normally, I’m not fond of class action suits, but this is something I can get behind. Those tiny fish have to pay! Hopefully, this will tighten up the safety standards in coral reefs. Lord knows they’ve been slacking off for years.

  4. DariusC says:

    “Alright everyone! Put on your environmental protection suits, we’re going to the beach!” Seriously, our environmental issues are getting out of hand, dontcha think?

    • Ben says:

      I see nothing wrong with studying and understanding the world we live in and the risks involved with different activities. That some people overreact is no reason to remain ignorant.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        @Ben; I think you missed his sarcasm but really, it is getting out of hand having to have irrelevant data about how “sand” is not good for you or anything reported. How many times have we been at the beach? Hundreds? Who’s gotten sick? I never have and I doubt many will. There is always a chance,,but such is life. Of course the sand is dirty but so is the entire world. We don’t live in a sanitized world but per these reports and the likes of Miss OCD Jenny McCarthy-types, we’re all gonna die if we go out into the world without protection beyond our front door. It’s overkill.

        I agree with you point about learning more but how many stop at that point? Many will infuse this info into their long-term life-long goals by wrapping up their baby’s in sarah wrap before hitting the beaches and covering their faces with the latest SPF lotion and making sure little Bobby and Suzie stay under an umbrella for fear of Mr. Sun! Our country is becoming a paranoid state worrying about every little issue.

  5. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    1) Get Insurance policy on Mom
    2) Go to beach and bury mom in the sand
    3) …..
    4) Profit!

  6. Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

    I’ve never noticed getting sick after being in the sand, and washing after being at the beach is pretty much a no-brainer, because while the sand may not make me nauseous, IT WILL RUB YOUR TENDER BITS RAW if you don’t wash it off.

  7. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    The mind boggles.

  8. OrlandoDude says:

    From the same agency that “declares” carbon dioxide a poison.

    Who will save the plants?!?!?

  9. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Is this not common sense? Of course the ocean is a cess pool of dead plant material, fish, shell fish, etc. plus whatever we humans dump in it. I’ve been to the ocean probably a dozen times in my life, and never got sick from it.

    I don’t need the EPA to tell me to shower off after I leave the beach area. Who wants to run around all day in a sandy swim suit? It’s irritating!

  10. ajv915 says:

    From the report…

    Both beaches are located less than 2 miles from a publicly owned waste treatment-works outfall.

    Maybe that little tidbit of info could have been shared too!

  11. maxamus2 says:

    The beach Jerry, the beach!

  12. akronharry says:

    I miss playing with plastic sea whistles that were commonly found at beaches years ago.
    Did they become extinct?

  13. nocar says:

    Samples were taken from beaches that are near waste-water outfalls so the sand is holding local pollution. Your post is very misleading and alarmist that the sand itself is the problem, not the sewage processing plants.

    Clean water = clean and healthy sand. Just go to a beach away from industrial areas where the water is clean and the sand is not an issue.

  14. dush says:

    Hmm, aren’t Alabama beaches on the gulf where a little toxic incident happened recently?

  15. FrugalFreak says:

    OH PLEASE! Maybe it is the TARBALLS in the sand?

    Start handing out plastic bubbles now.

  16. FrugalFreak says:

    BTW, Fairhope, AL(a bay) is 32 miles from Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Alabama. Fairhope is a residential city and Gulf Shores is more vacation oriented.

    Gulf Shores/Orange Beach is Beautiful and still a clean family oriented place to visit.

  17. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    I think the main reason is that sand is just small stones and ground up shells. All those are filled with nooks and crannies that bacteria just love to live in, like tiny hermit crabs.

  18. miss_j_bean says:

    How come in this country we have a tendency to hyper-focus on something that will probably never happen (like getting sick from beach sand) and ignore things that are actually bad for you and will probably cause long term negative effects (artificial food coloring)?

    • El-Brucio says:

      I would say that is because it doesn’t pay to have a news program that focuses on those things over and over again. Cycle the same story too many times and people get bored or start to feel berated and stop watching, resulting in increasingly strange attempts to retain viewers.

      Somehow this has warped into an endless array of teasers for new unknown threats. UP NEXT – A common household product that MAY be KILLING YOUR CHILDREN! But First! A peek at tomorrow’s weather! STILL AHEAD – the hidden dangers of pocket lint!

  19. CorvetteJoe says:

    As someone who lives in FL and is at the beach all the time, digging with the kids, burying myself and others, building castles, etc, ect.. I have yet to ever be sick from things in the sand or seen anyone I know get sick from this.

    Maybe they need to quit digging in the dirty north and do a new study in the pristine south’s beaches (excluding the northern gulf that is).