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Study reveals the most and least polluted beaches in America

When someone books a luxury limousine, the last thing that they expect to see is a dirty, unkempt interior. Similarly, one who goes to enjoy a day at the beach would never think that the water is polluted. But, the unfortunate truth is that there are a number of oceansides that aren't quite as clean as one would hope. The good news is, however, that the Natural Resources Defense Council gauges the cleanliness of beaches every year to determine which ones aren't quite up to par.

The council's analysis of more than 6,000 beaches in America last year was released on Wednesday, and it appears that just 8 percent of the water samples taken revealed that public health standards were being violated. The states with the lowest contamination rates were Delaware and New Hampshire, where only 1 percent of the samples collected were in violation of the criteria. Louisiana and Ohio were by far the worst offenders with 29 percent and 22 percent contamination rates respectively.

Of all the beaches tested in the country, 12 were given a five-star rating for testing more than once a week, quickly notifying the public if there were extraordinarily high bacteria levels and responsibly handling beach closings and advisories. Those beaches were:

♦ Gulf Shores Public Beach, Alabama
♦ Gulf State Park Pavilion, Alabama
♦ Bolsa Chica Beach, California
♦ Huntington State Beach, California
♦ Newport Beach, California
♦ Dewey Beach, Delaware
♦ Ocean City at Beach 6, Maryland
♦ Park Point Franklin Park / 13th Street South Beach, Minnesota
♦ Park Point Lafayette Community Club Beach, Minnesota
♦ Hampton Beach State Park, New Hampshire
♦ Wallis Sands Beach, New Hampshire
♦ South Padre Island, Texas.

To find out more information about specific beaches in the United States, visit the Natural Resources Defense Council's website.