Olympic athletes told to keep mouths closed when in Rio's contaminated water

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Problems for Rio Olympics

Earlier this week, Olympic athletes expressed their concerns over accommodations in the Olympic Village, where only 12 out of 31 buildings passed safety inspections. Now, they face another hurdle -- and the games have not even started yet.

Health experts in Brazil have told athletes to keep their mouths shut when in Rio de Janeiro's contaminated water. According to The New York Times, scientists have tested the water and found an innumerable amount of toxins, including rotaviruses that cause vomiting and diarrhea and potentially fatal "superbacteria."

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Guanabara Bay, where Rio will host windsurfing and sailing events during the Olympics, is heavily polluted. What's more, researchers from the Federal University of Rio have found that the beaches where spectators will observe the games are also dangerous and covered with garbage.

The Brazilian government acknowledged a problem with the nation's waters in Guanabara Bay seven years ago, and promised to clean them up. Officials have now said that their efforts have been ineffective.

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"Our biggest plague, our biggest environmental problem, is basic sanitation," Andrea Correa, the top environmental official in the state of Rio, told The New York Times. "The Olympics has woken people up to the problem."

PHOTOS: See Rio's infested waters

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Rio's polluted waters
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Rio's polluted waters
Environment Institute of Rio de Janeiro State (INEA) staffers collect a bed mattress as the tide moves away from the 'eco-barrier' set up to catch floating debris before they enter Guanabara Bay at the mouth of the Meriti river, in Duque de Caxias, next to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 20, 2016. / AFP / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
View of floating debris carried by the tide and caught by the 'eco-barrier' before entering Guanabara Bay, at the mouth of Meriti river in Duque de Caxias, next to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 20, 2016. / AFP / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
View of floating debris carried by the tide and caught by the 'eco-barrier' before entering Guanabara Bay, at the mouth of Meriti river in Duque de Caxias, next to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 20, 2016. / AFP / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
View of floating debris carried by the tide and caught by the 'eco-barrier' before entering Guanabara Bay, at the mouth of Meriti river in Duque de Caxias, next to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 20, 2016. / AFP / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
Men work cleaning up the garbage next to an ecobarrier at Meriti River which flows into Guanabara Bay, in Duque de Caxias, near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
Men work cleaning up the garbage next to an ecobarrier at Meriti River which flows into Guanabara Bay, in Duque de Caxias, near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 18: A boy reaches for a ball along a polluted canal in the Mare favela community complex on July 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Polluted canals in Rio such as this one empty in Guanabara Bay. The Mare complex is one of the largest favela complexes in Rio and is challenged by violence, pollution and poverty. The Rio 2016 Olympic Games begin August 5. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Men work cleaning up the garbage next to an ecobarrier at Meriti River which flows into Guanabara Bay, in Duque de Caxias, near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
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The water, along with the beaches, are filled with sewage and actual human waste. According to local doctor Daniel Becher, "Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms."

"It's sad but also worrisome," he added.

The athletes have been doing their best to practice their sport among the garbage. Afrodite Zegers, a member of the Dutch sailing team, has been practicing in the bay. He said, "We just have to keep our mouths closed when the water sprays up."

With the Olympics beginning August 5, it's unlikely that these problems will be resolved.

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