3rd Wave of Health Survey Needs Your Support

We are renewing an appeal for people to take part in research that will shed light on the health effects of marine pollution.

A team of scientists and researchers want to compare the health of people who venture into the waves with those who stay firmly on shore, to assess the impact on health from marine pollution. We are working with the University of Exeter Medical School to conduct the study, with the third phase starting on 10th November.

We are are asking adults living in England and Wales to respond to a short online survey, answering questions about their health, visits to the beach, and whether or not they’ve been in the sea. We are eager to hear from both water users and non-waters users (and even water users that haven’t been in the sea for a few weeks), including those who took part in the previous stages of the study in June and August. Anyone aged over 18 in England or Wales can participate – either online or using a smartphone.

Over recent years concern about the cleanliness of coastal water – and its possible adverse effects on health – has led to tighter regulation and monitoring of seawater at popular beaches. As a result, the water quality of beaches across the UK has improved, with 99% of the 608 designated bathing beaches meeting the 1976 mandatory European bathing water standards during the 2013 bathing season.  These standards are soon to be superseded by tougher, more appropriate standards.

However, during the 2014 bathing season our Safer Seas Service has warned the public about 1,500 short term pollution incidents on English and Welsh beaches – episodes that current water quality tests are unlikely to capture.

The survey goes live on Monday 10th November and will be available for two weeks. Those who participated in the previous rounds of data collection are encouraged to respond again.