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UIC researchers measure health effects of Chicago's waterways
Date:3/23/2009

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health are conducting a study to determine the health effects associated with recreational activities such as boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing on Chicago's waterways.

The Chicago Health, Environmental Exposure, and Recreation Study, or CHEERS, is funded by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

The project aims to determine the rate of illness for people who participate in water activities other than swimming and establish water quality standards for people who enjoy activities on the waterway.

Local and federal regulations have been developed to protect people who swim at beaches, but water quality standards do not exist to protect people who row, paddle, boat or fish. This is the first study in the U.S. to evaluate health and environmental factors associated with recreation on water.

The researchers are enrolling people who participate in activities on Chicago area waterways and will follow them over time to see if they get sick, according to Dr. Samuel Dorevitch, research assistant professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at UIC and principal investigator of the study.

"We also have a comparison group of people who are outdoors on the same days at about the same places doing recreational activity that doesn't involve water," Dorevitch said. By comparing the two, the researchers hope to uncover any short-term health effects of water recreation, such as gastrointestinal infections, skin infections, or eye, ear or respiratory conditions.

Participants will be surveyed before and after activities on the water. The amount of water swallowed, inhaled, or splashed on skin will also be measured in some people. Two of the novel ways for measuring water exposure were developed at UIC.

Aerosol samplers will be used to measure the amount of water that people may be inhaling during water sp
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Contact: Sherri McGinnis Gonzlez
smcginn@uic.edu
312-996-8277
University of Illinois at Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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