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.


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.


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.