Blue-Green Algae Has Arrived:
Written by admin, June 28, 2012
June 28. 2012 – Know The Risks and How to Protect Yourself
The Peterborough Public Health announced today that the season for blue-green algae has arrived on area lakes and is advising residents to protect themselves from this potential health risk.
“Blue-green algae blooms can come and go quickly in lakes, so residents should visit Public Health’s website or call us for information about what to look for before swimming or consuming water if they suspect a bloom in their area,” said Shawn Telford-Eaton, Acting Manager of Inspection Programs at Public Health. “Just as we’ve all learned how to avoid poison ivy and sunburns, it’s important to know how to protect ourselves from blue-green algae so everyone can still enjoy their summer safely.”
Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria, called cyanobacteria, that are known for rapidly reproducing and collecting to form large, highly visible blooms throughout the water column, on the surface of water as a scum, or on the lake bottom as a mat. These blooms are not only unsightly and smelly: some species of cyanobacteria can also release poisons, called cyanobacterial toxins, when the cells that make up the bloom rupture or die.
The risk to humans is primarily from drinking water that has been contaminated with toxins from a dense algae bloom. Fortunately, there have been no human deaths attributed to drinking water containing cyanobacterial toxins, but the toxins may cause headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Long-term consumption of water containing high levels of cyanobacterial toxins may cause neurological or liver problems. If allowed, farm animals and pets may consume large quantities of heavily contaminated water, resulting in sickness or death.
Some individuals are sensitive to blue-green algae, and may develop a mild skin rash or eye irritation even if there is no toxin produced by the bloom. Some individuals will have no reaction.
For more information on blue-green algae, and precautions to be taken before swimming in or consuming water where there has been an algae bloom, go to Peterborough Public Health website at www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.
If report a blue-green algae bloom, residents are advised to contact the Ministry of the Environment at 1-800-268-6060.
For further information, please contact:
Acting Manager, Inspection Programs
705-743-1000, ext. 287