News Stories

Did Someone Pee in the Pool?

A new kind of test strip has been developed, so you can find out right away. It also works in the ocean, so take it to the beach.

Researchers have developed a rapid testing method using a simple paper strip that can detect E. coli in recreational water within minutes. Bioactive paper is both old and new--since the late1950s, physicians have been using bioactive paper to test for glucose in urine. In the last several years, the area has expanded quickly as scientists work on new applications.

Chemist John Brennan says, "Coliforms are always a big problem. The methods used to detect outbreaks are slow, and tend not to be portable, as they often need a lab-based amplification step prior to testing, causing a time lag between an outbreak and a beach closure." But now, within 30 minutes of sampling, the paper changes color to indicate the presence of E. coli, with colors coded to represent different forms and concentrations of the bacteria.

The standards for safe drinking water are hundreds of times tighter than those for safe swimming water. Typically, limits for safe swimming allow for a maximum of 100 to 500 cells in 100 mL of water. For water to be considered safe for drinking, there cannot be even one cell in 100 mL, which is a little less than half a cup of water.

If you want to transform your body, swimming is great exercise, but the kind of exercise Anne Strieber says works BEST (in her famous diet book "What I Learned From the Fat Years"), is WALKING, and you don't need to take along test strips for that.



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