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Preventing the Top 10 Causes of Recreational Water Illnesses

EMSL Analytical, Inc. offers aquatic testing services to identify microbial and chemical exposure risks to protect workers and the public.

Cinnaminson, NJ – WEBWIRE

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that recreational water illnesses, also known as RWIs, are caused by germs and chemicals found in the water we swim in. The agency also states that in the past two decades, there has been a substantial increase in the number of RWI outbreaks.

RWIs are spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers or oceans. RWIs can also be caused by chemicals in the water or chemicals that turn into a gas and cause air quality problems at indoor aquatic facilities.

There are numerous infections and conditions associated with recreational water illnesses. The CDC lists the top 10 causes of RWIs based on data compiled from 1978 through 2010. Ordered from highest to lowest frequency, they include the following:

1. Cryptosporidium
2. Pseudomonas
3. Shigella
4. Legionella
5. Norovirus
6. E. coli
7. Giardia 
8. Disinfection Agents & Byproducts (chlorine, bromine, hydrochloric acid)
9. Avian Schistosomes
10. Leptospira

“Symptoms of RWIs may include diarrhea, rashes, ear and respiratory infections, and irritation of the eyes and lungs,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Operators of aquatic facilities should perform environmental tests to detect the causes of RWIs to prevent illnesses and outbreaks. These include microbial pathogens in the water and air testing for disinfectant agents and byproducts, such as chloramines. Failure to do so could result in outbreaks and significant costs due to medical, legal and loss of business expenses.”

EMSL is pleased to offer a comprehensive range of water and air quality testing services for chemical and microbial concerns. They also recently sponsored an educational video about the CDC’s Top 10 RWIs that can be seen at:

To learn more about microbial and chemical testing services, please visit, email  or call (800) 220-3675.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations.  In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environment

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