Science, risk and politics in the bathing water debate

The European Commission has responded to the UK's demands for a simplification of the EC Directive on bathing water quality with a proposal to amend the legislation. The proposal, though, has come with a sizeable price tag attached - and even so has sparked a scientific controversy about whether it is sufficiently stringent to protect the health of bathers. Adding to the Government's difficulties is growing pressure for disinfection of sewage effluent in order to provide health safeguards which match the changing patterns of recreational uses of water.

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