MANOA, Hawaii, July 15 (UPI) -- So you took a vacation to get away from your toothbrush that has your roommates' poo particles all over it. You're relaxing at the beach, toes in the sand. It's all good.
Except it's not. There's more bad news from the world's leading germ scientists. A new study out of Hawaii suggests fecal contamination is more prevalent in sand than in the water.
Most modern pollution monitoring focuses on local water and the potential contaminants that can be found floating within. After heavy rains, storms and flooding, sewage runoff can taint rivers, lakes and oceans with disease-spreading fecal bacteria. When this happens, "No Swimming" signs are often posted at beaches.
But simply staying out of the water may not be enough to avoid errant fecal particles and the health risks they carry with them.
Previous studies have suggested that more fecal contaminants are found in beach sand exposed to sewage than in the waves that roll onto shore. The latest research, conducted in the labs of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, confirms these findings.
Scientists there recreated small beach settings in the lab and then released various types fecal contaminants responsible for causing illness. Researchers found that icky communities of microbes decayed more slowly in sand than in the water.
The new research was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.