US Beaches Become Cleaner

South Carolina 's beaches were cleaner last year than they were in 2007, one possible upside to the drought.

South Carolina issued 18 advisories in 2008 for a total of 36 days, compared to 108 days in 2007 and 684 in 2006, according to data of the Natural Resources Defense Council , Greenville News reports.

However, swimmers and surfers exposed to such toxic materials are at risk for stomach, skin, lung and neurological disorders. The health of marine mammals, fish, mollusks and birds also suffers , San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Meanwhile, Ocean City received stars in all five categories: water quality for 2008 and over the last three years, its water quality testing frequency -- which is twice a week -- and its promptness of issuing advisories and posting closings and advisories online and at the beach , reports.