COLUMBUS, Ohio - Almost 41 percent of Ohioans have visited a lake, pond, river or creek in the state in the past year, and of those, nearly one-half usually spend their water-related recreational time at Lake Erie, according to preliminary findings in a new report.
These figures and other findings in the report suggest that Ohio residents value their lakes and rivers, and particularly Lake Erie, as natural resources, but also help to clarify the risk that Ohioans face from contaminants in those same bodies of water, researchers say.
Among the risks: Some blue-green algal blooms release a toxin called microcystin, and E. coli as a fecal indicator bacterium is often elevated in Ohio waters. The state also warns against frequent consumption of certain fish caught in Ohio because of contamination from mercury and PCBs.
The report, released by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, details preliminary results from two surveys: questions related to recreational water contact and fish consumption included in the 2012 Ohio Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and a separate survey of Ohioans' perceptions about Lake Erie.
The questions for each survey were designed by a research team led by Timothy Buckley, associate professor and chair of environmental health sciences at Ohio State University.
"Contact with surface waters is an established health risk factor," Buckley said. "For the first time in Ohio, we have a set of questions to establish the extent to which that contact is occurring as a basis for evaluating the risk."
Those questions are part of the Ohio BRFSS, an annual survey of adults conducted with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This survey is the primary source of state-specific information about health risk behaviors and health status among Ohio's resident population.
The second portion of the report, a perceptions survey of 523 Ohioans, was conduct
|Contact: Timothy Buckley|
Ohio State University