TOXIC ALGAL BLOOMS HEALTH CONCERNS
by: Dr. Sharon Collins
We have always had toxic algal blooms in some of our waterways—this is nothing new. It often occurs naturally. However the problem with these toxic blooms is that their extent and frequency is increasing and is now becoming more of a health hazard. “The recent spike is indisputably linked to pollution from farms. When fertilizer and animal manure run off into lakes, streams and bays, chemicals – including phosphorous – can spur the unchecked growth of cyanobacteria, particularly in warm weather.” And these toxins are strong enough to make humans sick and toxic enough to kill fish, other marine life, and our pets.
The toxic algal blooms form a thick, green, soup-like substance on the surface of the water. “And they can make tap water unsafe to drink, as residents of Toledo, Ohio, learned in 2014, when a massive bloom blanketed Lake Erie and invaded the city’s water supply.”
We are being warned that many children and adults exposed to the toxic algal blooms develop skin rashes, lung problems, eye problems, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Now that these health warnings have surfaced, I no longer take a casual attitude when I see algae on the surface of the water in which I plan to wade. I also suggest that we watch our pets carefully as pets have died after exposure to these toxic blooms.
And the toxic blooms can and frequently contaminate our drinking water, making it necessary to purchase bottled water as the people in Ohio learned.
Our water quality also affects our food quality. If you think the fish you get from these polluted waters is okay to consume, think again. “One feature of fish and other aquatic species that makes them more relevant as targets of environmental studies and of regulation is that they may not only become contaminated by pesticides or other chemicals, but that they constitute an important part of the human diet.”
You will want to take personal responsibility and check out the lakes and rivers in your state that are affected by toxic algal blooms before you decide where to wade, swim, or fish. Hopefully you can avoid exposure by not venturing or fishing in these waters.
I personally think that Omega-3 oils are very important for us to take. But now may be the time to seriously consider using these oils made from plant sources instead of fish. These plants can be grown in clean water. If you are trying to treat an omega-3 deficiency condition, you will want to use a product that is purely Omega-3 EPA and DHA oils. For instance Dr. Furhman’s Pure DHA & EPA or Nordic Natural Algal Omega are good choices.
However, for health maintenance you can use a product with omega-6 and 9 in them as long as they are balanced. Juice Plus+ makes a good plant-based product called Omega Blend.
I don’t believe our country’s EPA is taking the condition of our water supply as seriously as it should. We need to express our concern about water safety to EPA officials that can take action. I don’t think interrupting them while they are eating their meals in a restaurant is necessary, but we need to be more vocal and let them know we think they need to be more proactive. We must start speaking out. If we don’t do something now, our children and grandchildren are going to suffer the health consequences.
Please commit to joining hands with other concerned citizens to make this planet cleaner and unpolluted for the future.