Original Articles: PDF OnlyThe Health Effects of Swimming in Ocean Water Contaminated by Storm Drain RunoffHaile, Robert W.; Witte, John S.; Gold, Mark; Cressey, Ron; McGee, Charles; Millikan, Robert C.; Glasser, Alice; Harawa, Nina; Ervin, Carolyn; Harmon, Patricia; Harper, Janice; Dermand, John; Alamillo, James; Barrett, Kevin; Nides, Mitchell; Wang, Guang-yuAuthor Information From University of Southern California, Department of Preventive Medicine, Los Angeles, California; Case Western Reserve University, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Cleveland, Ohio; Heal the Bay, Santa Monica, California; City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation, Environmental Monitoring Division, Los Angeles, California; County Sanitation Districts of Orange County, California; University of North Carolina, Department of Epidemiology, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; University of California Los Angeles, Department of Prevention & Control, Los Angeles, California; University of California Los Angles, Department of Epidemiology, Los Angeles, California; University of California Los Angeles, Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Los Angeles, California, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project, Monterey Park, California. Epidemiology: July 1999 - Volume 10 - Issue 4 - p 355-363 Free Abstract Waters adjacent to the County of Los Angeles (CA) receive untreated runoff from a series of storm drains year round. Many other coastal areas face a similar situation. To our knowledge, there has not been a large-scale epidemiologic study of persons who swim in marine waters subject to such runoff. We report here results of a cohort study conducted to investigate this issue. Measures of exposure included distance from the storm drain, selected bacterial indicators (total and fecal coliforms, enterococci, and Escherichia coli), and a direct measure of enteric viruses. We found higher risks of a broad range of symptoms, including both upper respiratory and gastrointestinal, for subjects swimming (a) closer to storm drains, (b) in water with high levels of single bacterial indicators and a low ratio of total to fecal coliforms, and (c) in water where enteric viruses were detected. The strength and consistency of the associations we observed across various measures of exposure imply that there may be an increased risk of adverse health outcomes associated with swimming in ocean water that is contaminated with untreated urban runoff. Copyright © 1999 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.