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Scientists Testing Impacts of Blue-Green Algae on Health

3:12 PM, Sep 24, 2018

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Gabriela Milian

We’ve seen the impacts blue-green algae has on our waters and our wildlife. Now, scientists are coming to Southwest Florida to test the effects of blue-green algae on people.

Scientists Testing Impacts of Blue-Green Algae on Health

“If we can assemble that data as microcystins occur, they can put out public health alerts and formulate policy regarding public safety issues,” Karl Deigert, a pharmacist in Southwest Florida, said. A microcystin is a toxin that comes from cyanobacteria — or what we all know as blue-green algae.

Blue-green algae has been documented as affecting the skin of people who come into contact with it, along negatively impacting the liver and nervous system. However, only scant research has been done on the health impacts of frequent contact. Immediately noticeable, however, is the terrible stench permeating from blue-green algae.

Scientists from Florida Atlantic University tested 70 people in Stuart, Florida, to see if they had these toxins. They were found in 100 percent on the participants. Those same scientists are now coming to Southwest Florida, purely for research.

“Participants in the event will not be getting individual diagnosis or results back," Deigert said. "So basically, their participation is to assemble data that will benefit the entire community going forward."

The research is to prepare public health alerts. Also, to develop a more effective plan in regards to public safety in general.

So if you live near blue-green algae and want to volunteer to be tested, reach out to Florida Atlantic University. Click here to learn more.

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