By Marguerite Huber
The combination of my current job—sharing results from EPA safe and sustainable water research—and this week’s focus on “Taking Action on Children’s Health” rekindled some happy, watery memories for me.
As a kid, the key ingredient to my two favorite summer activities was water. I loved going to the beach and playing in the sprinkler in our backyard on hot summer days. When we went to the beach I would splash in the waves, dig through the sand, and create elaborate sandcastles. When we couldn’t make the trip to the beach, my friends and I would spend hours running through the sprinkler in my backyard.
While it’s not quite as much fun as sprinting through waves or leaping over sprinklers, I am learning how EPA researchers are continually working to keep such water-based activities fun and safe for those lucky enough to devote their summers to such pursuits (children!). For example:
- A major focus of EPA clean water research is protecting the nation’s drinking water to help keep families safe, whether they are consuming it, or using it to simultaneously water the lawn and keep their children cool and entertained.
- The “Virtual Beach” software suite developed by Agency researchers and modelers uses data on beach location, local hydrology, land use, wave height, and weather to create models that can predict bacteria and other waterborne pathogen outbreaks at saltwater and freshwater beaches before they happen.
- Research focused on understanding nutrient pollution includes developing innovative ways to use remote sensing and satellites to monitor for harmful algal blooms that could threatened both drinking water sources and the safety of the water at your favorite beach.
- EPA scientists are even studying links between exposures to harmful bacteria and beach sand, working to provide beach managers with an early warning to pass along to parents if needed.
Our mission at the EPA is to protect public health and the environment. Supporting that mission, our research helps protect vulnerable populations and life stages, especially children. A healthy environment for children is one in which environmental conditions ensure that they have the opportunity to reach and maintain their full potential. Since children are different from adults in how they interact with their environment, their health may be affected by these interactions differently as well. I’m glad to know that EPA’s work is keeping happy memories alive.
For more information please visit our Health and Water Research page.
About the Author: Marguerite Huber is a student contractor with the science communications team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. She frequently blogs about water research for “It All Starts with Science.”