Even in areas of Florida where blue-green algae aren’t easily visible, signs are posted warning people to stay out of the water due to cyanobacteria. And Now some doctors are saying we should be wary of the air as well because microcystins and cyanobacteria could cause major health problems for those exposed. Indeed, on the east coast of Florida, FAU researchers found microcystins in 100 percent of people they tested, suggesting the toxins are airborne.1
And according to Dr. Parisima Taeb, a local physician, these bacterias “cause end-stage liver disease, liver cancer and animal studies have been shown that it does end up causing colorectal cancer, testicular cancer and intestinal cancer, so it is a very, very huge concern for all of us.”2
But in the short term, symptoms of exposure are things like coughing, shortness of breath, allergies and sinus flare-ups. To minimize contact and the potential problems from contact, Dr. Taeb recommends staying one mile away from the water.
So far this year, Florida Poison Control has received more than 250 calls statewide about blue-green algae and red tide.