Navigation Links
If the water looks and smells bad, it may be toxic
Date:9/13/2010

Earthy or musty odors, along with visual evidence of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, may serve as a warning that harmful cyanotoxins are present in lakes or reservoirs. In a newly published USGS study of cyanobacterial blooms in Midwest lakes, taste-and-odor compounds were found almost every time cyanotoxins were found, indicating odor may serve as a warning that harmful toxins are present.

"It is commonly believed that there are no health risks associated with taste-and-odor compounds," said Dr. Jennifer Graham, USGS limnologist and lead scientist on this study. "While taste-and-odor compounds are not toxic, these pungent compounds were always found with cyanotoxins in the blooms sampled. This finding highlights the need for increased cyanotoxin surveillance during taste-and-odor events so that the public can be advised and waters can be effectively treated."

Cyanotoxins are produced by some cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria commonly form a blue-green, red or brown film-like layer on the surface of lakes and reservoirs. This phenomenon is frequently noticed in the United States during the summer, but also occurs during other seasons.

Cyanotoxins can be poisonous to people, aquatic life, pets and livestock. Removing or treating affected water can be both costly and time-intensive. Cyanotoxins are currently on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's drinking-water contaminant candidate list, and many states include cyanotoxins in their freshwater beach-monitoring programs.

"Exposure to these toxins has caused a range of symptoms including skin rashes, severe stomach upset, seizures, or even death," said Dr. Keith Loftin, USGS research chemist and environmental engineer. "Pets and livestock are most susceptible to direct exposure, but people can also be affected during recreation, by eating contaminated foods, or by drinking contaminated water that has not been treated properly."

For this study, a cyanobacterial bloom from each of 23 lakes in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri was sampled and analyzed for thirteen toxins and two taste-and-odor compounds. Lakes were targeted based on a known history of cyanobacterial bloom occurrence.

Microcystins, a specific type of toxin, are often the only cyanotoxin considered when evaluating risks associated with cyanobacteria in waters used for recreation or drinking water supply. Microcystins were found in all samples; however, this study also indicates that toxins other than microcystins may be more common than previously thought.

Taste-and-odor compounds were detected in 91 percent of samples. Since toxins occurred more frequently than taste-and-odor compounds, odor alone does not provide sufficient warning to ensure human-health protection against cyanotoxin exposure.

If you think you see a harmful algal bloom, avoiding it is the first course of action. A good second step is to notify local authorities responsible for the affected area, such as a lake manager, state health department, or other relevant state agencies.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kara Capelli
kcapelli@usgs.gov
571-230-6601
United States Geological Survey
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Water management and malnutrition crucial issues at McGill food conference
2. 2002 Oil Spill May Shed Light on Health Problems for Deepwater Workers
3. Could Drinking Water Before Meals Help You Lose Weight?
4. Africa cell phone boom beneficial -- but schools, roads, power, water remain critical needs
5. Nanotechnology for water purification
6. Underwater sponges and worms may hold key to cure for malaria
7. Pionetics Ships its 1,000th LINX Drinking Water System
8. New study links 1 in 5 deaths in Bangladesh to arsenic in the drinking water
9. Voss Foundation Helps CHF International Provide Clean Water in Rural Ethiopia
10. Chemicals remaining after wastewater treatment change the gender of fish
11. Deadly effect of arsenic in drinking water measured in massive study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... North Cypress Medical Center hosted ... Club in Cypress. With the help of community partners, the event organizers raised $45,000 ... hope for wounded service members and their families through health, wellness, and therapeutic support. ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Power Systems, a leading developer ... Instructor Certification Course in Stoughton, Massachusetts. The course was led by Power Systems’ ... 8 hour interactive course to qualify participants as certified PowerWave trainers. , ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... The introduction of our ... PROTECTION TO YOUR HEAD ™”. , “We are proud to introduce Meghan ... football front we have Brian Quick, wide receiver for Los Angeles who was a ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Dr. LeRoy Perry’s recently ... impact of mobile devices on the billions of users, hundreds of millions of whom ... While not life threatening, the frequent and common action of looking down at hand-held ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... In Madeira Beach Florida, a small ... single drawbridge, citizens formed an organization, Madeira Beach United, to oppose two development projects ... small town center to a high rise urban environment. , According to the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... YORK , May 25, 2016  According to ... reached $381 billion in 2015.  Though these are ... plenty of opportunity for success for companies that ... in search of new growth prospects medical device ... on research and development (R&D) than do companies ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... -- MedDay, a biotechnology company focused on the ... entitled "High doses of biotin in progressive multiple sclerosis: extension ... Professor Ayman Tourbah , Principal Investigator of the Phase ... of Neurology (EAN) in Copenhagen, Denmark . ... place on Sunday, 29 May 2016 from 14:45 to 16:15 ...
(Date:5/24/2016)...   , ... primären Endpunkte und demonstriert Ebenbürtigkeit bei der Gesamtreinigung ... plus guter , Reinigung des ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130829/633895-a ) , ... von der MORA-Studie der Phase III für NER1006 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: