Cyanobacteria Prompt Closure of Lake Champlain Beaches

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — All Lake Champlain beaches in Burlington were closed Monday because of the presence of potentially toxic algae bloom. Floating colonies of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are present in Lake Champlain.

Burlington Parks and Recreation Department Monday closed the beaches of Oakledge and Texaco. Beaches of Oakledge and Texaco were closed after the detection of bacteria on public beaches. In addition, North Beach and Laddy beach were closed to show signs of bacteria blooms.

Though blue, green algae are always present in lake Champlain, their raised concentration can create highly toxic substances. These poisonous substances severely affect pets and humans, especially children and people with weak immune systems. As a result, sporadic blooms are common in the Burlington area, abetted by warm water temperatures.

The Vermont Health Department has published algae bloom tracker for bodies in the state and Lake Champlain.

Vermont isn’t the only state dealing with potential toxins. Last week, Rhode Island’s Providence Journal reported that officials are warning people to avoid water bodies. Due to the presence of a large number of cyanobacteria and toxins. Similarly, Ohio’s Clermont County is recommending residents avoid East Fork Lake.

“It’s not uncommon; it’s not a surprise — but of course, it’s disheartening,” said Lori Fisher. Lori Fisher is an executive director of the nonprofit Lake Champlain Committee.

Cyano-bacteria lives in fresh water and is capable of generating their food by photosynthesis or through carbon dioxide. It’s microscopic but lives in colonies, thus is visible to the naked eye.

Cyanobacteria are formed after prolonged stretches of hot weather, and they are responsible for producing harmful toxins.

“Some freshwater cyanobacterial blooms, or cyanoHABs, can produce highly potent toxins, known as cyanotoxins,” reported the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

 

Why are Cyanobacteria toxic?

“Pets and livestock can get very sick and die within hours to days after swallowing cyanobacterial toxins,” the CDC warns.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, humans can easily be exposed to blue-green algae. By ingesting or swallowing infected water, inhalation, or skin contact.

Similarly, intaking toxic food like fish and other dietary supplements can also introduce cyanobacteria to your body, reported the CDC.

It’s also lethal to animals if they ingest blue-green algae in similar ways as humans ingest toxins.

Cyanobacteria can be deadly to animals if they ingest infected water while swimming or playing in water bodies.

According to the Department of Parks, Recreation, Waterfront, the States parks and swimming beaches reopened Tuesday.

How to recognize Cyanobacteria?

“Harmful algae blooms are sometimes mistaken for paint floating on the water,” reported the American Kennel Club. Algae blooms are present in water in blue, green, red, and brown colors. Thus they are mistaken for paint floating on water.

Blue-green algae are toxic and can produce both nerve toxins (neurotoxins) and liver toxins. 

“Microcystis blooms resemble a greenish, thick, paint-like (sometimes granular) material that accumulates along shores,” the EPA says.

Symptoms Indicating Toxin Exposure:

Following are the symptoms reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • wheezing and coughing
  • rhinitis
  • chest tightness
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • joint pain
  • pink eyes
  • acute hepatitis
  • jaundice
  • blood in urine
  • lethargy
  • electrolyte imbalances
  • headache
  • muscle twitches

What Should You Do If Exposed to Toxins?

You should seek medical help if you or your pets or livestock have signs of poisoning. And secondly, contact your state’s poison control centers to report exposure. In the third step, you need to intake healthy nutraceuticals to detox the body of toxins.

And make sure to avoid places rich in toxins and molds to avoid other severe symptoms of toxin exposure. For example, swimming areas, sandy beaches, and public boats launch rich in an algae bloom.