How to prevent harmful algae from blooming on the beach

(conversation) – Jumping into the ocean or lake is one of the great pleasures of summer. However, arriving at the beach to find green, red, or brown water and possibly a foul odor can quickly ruin the party.

As toxicologist, I study health risks from both synthetic and natural substances.I have been doing research on Early detection of harmful blue-green algaeor HAB, and pose a growing threat to humans, animals, and the environment.

Toxins produced during these blooms have been implicated in human and animal disease in at least 43 states.Scientists believe that, in the United States alone, freshwater HABs USD 4.6 billion in losses annuallyHere’s what you need to know if you’re planning to hit the waterfront this summer. In recent years, noxious algae blooms have become a regular occurrence along large stretches of Florida’s coast.

Small creature, big impact

Algae and cyanobacteria (often called cyanobacteria) are simple plant-like organisms that live in water.They can grow or “bloom” out of control, especially if the water is warm and slow-moving. warm the waterincreases the risk of HAB.

Another major factor promoting flowering is the high levels of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that fertilize the algae. Nutrient pollution Mainly from agriculture, wastewater treatment plants, septic tanks and burning fossil fuels.

These flowers may contain organisms that produce toxins. derived from animals or plants It can make people and animals sick, and can adversely affect the environment. These events are called harmful algae blooms.

HAB occurs all over the United States and World wide, in both saltwater and freshwater environments. They pose significant health risks to humans, pets, livestock and wildlife. damage ecosystems. Increased water treatment costs. Limit recreational activities. and reduce economic income.

Humans and animals can be exposed to HAB toxins through a variety of routes. These include skin contact during activities such as swimming and boating. Inhale airborne droplets containing toxins. Swallowing contaminated water; or eating foods or supplements that contain toxins. In general, the most severe effects occur when: eat contaminated seafood.

sequence of toxins

there are many HAB toxin, microcystin, saxitoxin, cylindrospermopsin, anatoxin-A, domoic acid and other substances.Since each has a different effect on the body, HABs can have Various harmful effects.

Typical symptoms of illness Exposure to HAB toxins may result in stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. headache, fever, fatigue or other general symptoms; irritation of the skin, eyes, nose or throat; neurological symptoms such as weakness or dizziness. Depending on the toxin, high-level exposure can lead to tremors and seizures, respiratory distress, kidney toxicity, liver toxicity, and even death.

As with many environmental exposures, children and the elderly may be particularly sensitive to HAB toxins. People who regularly consume seafood caught in HAB-prone areas may also be exposed to frequent, low-level exposures to HAB toxins and thus be at risk of long-term health effects. I’m here.

HAB recognition and response

You can’t tell if a flower is toxic just by looking at it, but there are some warning signs. If the water color is green, red, brown, or yellowish. Strong musty or fishy odor; foam, scum, algal mats, or paint-like streaks on the surface. Alternatively, if there are dead fish or other marine life in the water or washed up on the shoreline, you may have HAB.

If you are unsure whether blooms are harmful, contact your local health or environmental agency for guidance. It is recommended.

If you notice flowering in a nearby body of water or public drinking water supply, the most important thing you can do to reduce your chances of getting sick is to follow your local or state guidance. , stay away from water and keep pets away from water.

It is also important to follow local guidelines regarding the consumption of seafood caught by recreational fishing.It is important to be aware of cooking contaminated seafood or boiling contaminated water. does not destroy toxins.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Resources and recommendations It is related to HAB and how to secure it.Pet owners should learn How to protect your dog from HAB.

Other federal agencies that provide information on HABs include: U.S. Bureau of Toxic Algae Bloom and the National Institute of Environmental Health.

implemented by many states HAB supervisorespecially in areas known to be susceptible to bloom damage, West Lake ErieThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency HAB resources by stateApps used by water managers and state officials to make administrative decisions about the safety of public water supplies include: cyan android and CyAN Webmay contain useful information about HABs in your area.

What is being done with HAB?

Many efforts are underway to prevent, control and mitigate HABs and provide early warning to water system managers and health authorities.

An example in America is Cyanobacteria Assessment Network, or CyAN, a collaborative effort across several government agencies to develop an early warning indicator system for detecting algal blooms in freshwater systems.There are also several projects in progress Regional HAB Forecast.

On a global scale, Harmful Algae Information System Ultimately, it includes toxic algae events and information from toxic algae monitoring and management systems around the world.

Citizen scientists can provide invaluable assistance by monitoring local water bodies.If you would like to participate, please consider joining. Phytoplankton monitoring network again Cyanobacteria Monitoring Joint Research Groupdownload and use. Cyanobacteria Bloom App Report potential HABs in the bodies of water you visit. How to prevent harmful algae from blooming on the beach

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