Too many germs for children in bathing lakes

Too many germs for children in bathing lakes / Health News

ADAC detects increased bacterial load in bathing lakes


Many bathing lakes in Germany are so contaminated with germs that there is a significant health risk for children. The ADAC has examined the water quality in 60 bathing lakes and found too high a germ concentration in the shallow water area at one fifth of the measuring points.

In the investigation of the bathing lakes, the limit values ​​of the admissible germ load of a bathing water, which were set by the Federal Environmental Agency, were frequently used „clearly exceeded“, reported the ADAC in its latest press release. As part of their study, the ADAC testers paid special attention to the shallow-water and plunge area intended for children. The germ counts found here can definitely pose a significant health risk for the little ones.

Water quality of 60 bathing waters examined
As part of the bathing water test, the experts at the ADAC took three water samples per measuring point at 60 bathing lakes in Germany between June and August 2011. While the official EU measurements are carried out in the so-called swimming area (water depth of at least one meter), the ADAC has its samples specifically from the „Highly frequented shallow water zones of children up to 30 centimeters deep“ taken. Because the germ load can vary significantly within a bathing water. Deviations between shallow water area and swimming area are quite common here. „In addition, flat and therefore warmer water is naturally more heavily loaded“, reports the ADAC. As with the EU bathing water investigations, the ADAC test analyzed the bacterial load of bacteria of the genus Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci. At all measuring points, a control sample was last taken in May 2012 to check the changes compared to the previous year.

Often harmful microbes in shallow water
The result of the ADAC is quite worrying, because one fifth of the bathing lakes had a harmful concentration of bacteria. Often were „the limit values ​​for swimming bans recommended by the Federal Environmental Agency are clearly exceeded“, reports the ADAC. The worst result was the bathing water examination at a beach in Gaienhofen on Lake Constance (Baden-Württemberg). Here the ADAC awarded the grade due to the very high concentration of intestinal enterococci „inadequate“. Such high germ loads can „especially in children trigger infections“, so the message of the ADAC. Among the more serious consequences of an enterococcal infection include, for example, urinary tract infections but also inflammation of the heart lining (endocarditis) and septicemia (sepsis). The cause of the pollution of bathing water is according to the experts often animal or bird droppings.

Half of the bathing lakes with „goods“ or „very good“ water quality
According to the latest press release, ADAC experts said the best water quality was at a „Beach in front of the campsite Godau on the southwestern shore of the Great Plöner lake in Schleswig-Holstein“ firmly. Here, the children can splash carefree near the shore. With the rating „very well“ is the beach of the Plöner See test winner. But also at 12 other measuring points was the test grade „very well“ awarded and 19 times, the testers rated the water quality „Well“. This means that more than half of the bathing waters examined are performing satisfactorily. In addition, however, there are 15 measuring points with the test grade „sufficient“ and 12 measuring points, with the second worst ADAC rating „questionable“ were assessed. For the latter applies as well as for the test loser - the beach in Gaienhofen - should urgently proceed against the germ burden.

Increased cleaning of germinated bank areas required
Therefore, the ADAC has called on the beach managers to do so, „to regularly and thoroughly clean the problematic and endangered bathing and beach areas.“ Also during the season, regular control measurements were to be carried out at shorter intervals, whereby these should also include shallow water near shore, according to the ADAC demand. For limit violations must, according to ADAC „a bathing ban is carried out immediately.“, However, this could lead to difficulties in federal states such as Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia, since the limits of the Federal Environmental Agency have not yet been adopted. Thus, there may be a health-threatening bacterial contamination of the waters without exceeding the applicable limit values, which lacks the legal basis for a bathing ban. However, the affected municipalities have cooperated with the ADAC and have pledged to intensify the cleansing of the germ-laden bank area in order to reduce the existing germ concentration. (Fp)

Read about:
Lakes with very good water quality
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria in seawater

Picture: Jürgen Hüsmert