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HEALTH Kicks off Beach Season with New Initiatives to Help Beachgoers Stay Healthy

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -With all beaches set to open this Saturday, May 26, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) has announced new tools to promote public health and safety during beach season. These include new Web pages featuring an interactive water quality map, as well as a public awareness campaign on responsible pet ownership.

At www.health.ri.gov/beaches, beachgoers can view current beach closures and advisories, as well as use an interactive map to view water sampling data and other information for any beach in the state. Beach managers can learn how to apply for a beach license and find instructions for monitoring water quality. The new Web pages also include health and safety tips on topics like sun safety and keeping food safe.

"Summer is a time to get outdoors and enjoy Rhode Island's natural resources," said Michael Fine, M.D., director of HEALTH. "Remember to bring sunscreen with both UVB and UVA protection and a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater, and re-apply generously after swimming and throughout the day."

HEALTH's website also targets beachgoers with a new public health message this beach season the department's"Scoop the Poop" campaign lets pet owners know that pet waste at the beach can pollute the sand and water, and encourages pet owners to pick up after their pets, dispose of pet waste properly and follow local rules for pets at the beach (State beaches do not allow dogs from April 1 to September 30; town beach rules vary, but are generally posted at the beach). The campaign includes radio advertisements in English and Spanish, as well as posters for beaches, dog parks and veterinary offices.

The Beach Monitoring Program at HEALTH works to protect the public from illnesses associated with swimming in contaminated fresh and saltwater bathing waters. The program collects and analyzes water samples from licensed beaches and works closely with beach owners and managers, cities and towns, and other state agencies to identify and eliminate sources of contamination. More information is available online.

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Related links

Department or agency: Department of Health

Online: http://www.health.ri.gov

Release date: 05-25-2012

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