Rio Olympic athletes risk serious illness from polluted water

July 30, 2015

Athletes run the risk of serious illness from dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria in sewage-contaminated waters at the swimming and boating venues being prepared for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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Tests conducted by the Associated Press found levels of disease-causing viruses as much as 1.7 million times the level that would be considered hazardous on a Southern California beach. Levels of raw sewage, the AP reported, contradict statements by Olympic organizers that the water-sports venues will be safe.

Some athletes training for the games have already fallen ill, AP said. Pollution levels are equivalent to those in raw sewage, the news agency added.

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Rio de Janeiro Olympic officials told the AP they are only testing for fecal-coliform bacteria, the basis for water quality in most countries, and that their testing finds the water to be in line with Brazilian rules.

 

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