Lifeguards were given surgical gloves and officials warned beachgoers to look out for syringes and other medical waste washing ashore in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Authorities said they cannot determine the origin of the waste or whether it is spreading north from New Jersey and New York, where beaches have been closed and blood in some discarded syringes tested positive for AIDS.

Blood bags, syringes and other medical trash washed up on shores from Long Island to southern New Jersey this month, forcing the closing of several beaches _ including four that remain off-limits to swimmers.