San Diego Petitions to Use DNA-Based Testing for Sewage Contamination in Recreational Water
San Diego’s environmental and civic leaders are urging passage of legislation that will allow the use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for water quality testing at its beaches. PCR identifies the genetic material of microorganisms, and rapidly detects bacteria and viruses found in sewage contamination. Results can be evaluated in as little as 4 hours allowing for rapid closure of beaches to protect the public’s health. Culture fecal indicator tests may take up to 2 days.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. has been using quantitative PCR to test for bacteria and viruses associated with sewage contamination for several years. qPCR is very sensitive, accurate and reproducible. It can reliably detect fecal contamination in a variety of sample types including water, wastewater, soil and swabs samples, which traditional culture tests cannot.
“For many years, researchers have recognized that typical fecal indicator bacterial culture tests are neither sensitive nor specific enough to detect the presence of fecal contamination since there are many false positives and negatives associated with those culture tests,” stated Diane Miskowski, MPH, Business Development Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Environmental stakeholders, unlike the medical community, have been slow to embrace PCR technology. PCR technology will benefit professionals and the communities they regulate as evidenced by San Diego’s recognition of the utility of this technology.”
PCR testing can test for fecal contamination and determine if the source of the contamination is animal or human contamination, which current fecal indicator tests cannot.
EMSL offers PCR testing for Enterococci, E. coli, Total Bacteroides, Human Bacteroides, Human Polyomavirus, and Enterovirus as well as specific pathogens like Cryptosporidium and Giardia. To learn more, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com . For service questions, please contact Diane Miskowski for expert information at 1-800-220-3675 extension 2528.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of quality environmental, indoor air quality and materials testing services and products to professionals, industry and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.
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