News Release

Costs of Closure:
Public lecture explores the impacts of bacterial contamination at swimming beaches.

January 08, 2006

Whatís happening?
Dr. Linwood Pendleton, associate professor of environmental science and engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles, will present the results of a study on the health impacts of beach water contamination in a free public lecture at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). The lecture is sponsored by the UNH/NOAA Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET).

Monday, January 22 @ 3:00 p.m.

Elliott Alumni Center, 1925 Room
University of New Hampshire, Durham campus

Why come?
In 2006, a record number of beach closures due to bacterial contamination left many coastal communitiesó including those in New Hampshire and Maineóconcerned over the impact of these events on public and economic health.

This lecture will examine the public health consequences of bacterial beach water contamination in Southern California, using water quality data, epidemiological models, and beach attendance data to estimate the public costs of excess, swimming related cases of gastroenteritis at swimming beaches.

Though California-based, this research has implications for all coastal communities struggling to address this challenge, and will offer useful information for beach water quality managers in the Gulf of Maine.

About the research
Researchers from UCLA and Stanford University, led by Dr. Pendleton, have found that preventing sewage contamination in waters off Southern California beaches could prevent up to 1.5 million cases of gastrointestinal (GI) illness annually. The researchers used beach attendance, fecal coliform densities, and two epidemiological models to estimate the risk of GI illness at 28 beaches in Los Angeles and Orange counties. They found that up to 1,479,000 cases of GI illness occur annually as a result of exposure to fecal contamination in coastal waters off swimming beaches. Health care costs estimated for those cases could be as much as $414 million annually. The study concludes that water quality improvements could have substantial public health benefits.

Presenter bio
Linwood Pendleton is an associate professor of environmental science and engineering from the University of California†and Lead Non-market Economist for the National Ocean Economics Program.

Dr. Pendletonís current research focuses on the economics of coastal water quality, marine protected areas, and ecosystem-based management of coastal resources.

More information on Dr. Pendletonís research is available at

RSVP & more info
If you plan to attend this lecture, or for more information, please contact CICEETís program coordinator:
Cindy Tufts

Limited parking is available upon request.
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