Two Factors Increasing the Risk of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABS)

A Result of Human Activities and Climatic Change

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are an emerging public health issue that can contaminate the environment, drinking water, recreational water, and food. Exposure to HAB toxins through water, food, or air may cause a range of mild to severe symptoms in both humans and animals. HAB-associated exposures can result in symptoms that affect the skin, stomach and intestines, lungs, and nervous system. HABS are increasing as a result of human acitivites and Climatic Change.

map: showing algal blooms (algae) around the Great Lakes region.

What are HABs

The dense surficial growth of cyanobacteria-producing toxins are called Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). Cyanobacteria is not truly algae but is often referred to as blue-green algae. It is a subset of phytoplankton, a single-celled algae, and a native constituent of freshwater environments. They can also be found in estuarine and marine waters. Cyanobacteria is often confused with green algae. Unlike green algae, cyanobacteria can produce dangerous cyanotoxins. Cyanotoxins are produced and contained within the cyanobacterial cells (intracellular). The release of these toxins in an algal bloom into the surrounding water occurs mostly during cell death rather than continuous excretion from the cyanobacterial cells. Depending on the […]

More about toxic algae and algal blooms:

NOAA: 40% of Lake Okeechobee covered in harmful algae

Warming drives spread of toxic algae in US, researchers say

Attack of the Killer Algae

Meat industry blamed for largest-ever ‘dead zone’ in Gulf of Mexico

Researchers create first portable tech for detecting cyanotoxins in water

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