The sand at the beach contains more feces than sewage-contaminated oceans

A hot news topic this summer was the prevalence of urine contaminating our pools and thus burning our eyes. Therefore, we've all parted ways from such pools (if we know what's good for us) and have instead retreated to our favorite breezy, refreshing, clean beaches. At least, we thought they were clean.

While we knew that sea water is often contaminated with sewage (not to mention even more urine than pools), we thought we were at least safe on the warm golden sand. Apparently we have to think again. Scientists have reportedly revealed that sand actually contains 100 times more fecal matter than contaminated sea water.

In other words, it's cleaner to swim in the world's largest toilet (as our germaphobe friends often call it) than it is to lay on the sand.

This fact has apparently been known in the science world for quite some time, we just never got the memo. Now, thanks to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Hawaii's Tao Yan, the truth is out.

RELATED: Beach Safety 101

Beach safety 101
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The sand at the beach contains more feces than sewage-contaminated oceans
Going to the beach is a fun summer activity, but it can also be dangerous! Click through the slideshow to learn how you and your family can stay safe and have fun at the beach this summer.
Know your swimming abilities, and don't push yourself to swim farther out than you are comfortable with.
Lifeguards are usually on duty from 9 am until 6 pm, so make sure to only swim between those hours.

Be careful of the sea life around you. Most fish are harmless, but steer clear of jellyfish and other aquatic life that can be more unpredictable.

To learn how to treat a jellyfish sting, click here.

Always swim with a buddy, so that if anything happens while you are swimming, there is another person to help you or get a lifeguard if necessary.
Pay attention to areas that have a strong current. There will be signs marking these areas, so consciously look for them before going for a swim.
If you do find yourself caught in a rip current, stay calm and swim parallel to the beach, while conserving as much energy as possible.
Enjoy an alcoholic beverage AFTER you go for a swim. Swimming intoxicated is much more dangerous, as you are less aware of your surroundings and unable to respond quickly to dangerous situations.
Holes in the sand are not uncommon, so you want to be careful when running or playing games on the beach. An accidental slip into a hole can result in a twisted ankle or worse.
It's easy to get dehydrated when you're out in the sun for long periods of time, so be sure to bring water with you and hydrate throughout the day.
Getting a tan is nice, but be sure to apply sunscreen regularly at the beach to avoid bad sunburns and possible skin cancer.

After conducting research on the matter, Tao Yan concluded that fecal matter decays much slower in beach sand than in seawater. He explained:

"the differential decay of waste-water bacteria in beach sand and in seawater provides a kinetic explanation to the often-observed higher abundance of fecal indicator bacteria in beach sand."

In case that statement just read as complete gibberish to you, Tao Yan basically suggests that feces decays in the sea quite easily and therefore is less prevalent in oceans than it is in sand.

Next time you're burying your adorable 3-year-old in the sand from the neck down, you might want to think about that. So long bare feet and sand castles, hello flip flops and lounge chairs.

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