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Toxic Algae Found To Be Growing Global Concern

At Central Marine the algae exudes an overpowering smell. Photo by Amy Green

New research shows toxic algae blooms like those that plagued Florida’s coastal estuaries this summer are a growing global problem.

Research from the U.S. Geological Survey shows toxic algae blooms have been reported nationwide and are implicated in human and animal illness and death in at least 43 states.

Jennifer Graham of the U.S. Geological Survey says the blooms are a natural occurrence but that more nutrients from fertilizers and septic tanks and a warming climate are worsening them.

“There has been a very clear increase in the occurrence of these events recently, ones where we’re manifesting and we’re seeing coverage of an entire surface or a lake.”

This summer’s toxic algae blooms triggered states of emergency in four Florida counties.

A 2014 bloom in Lake Erie disrupted the drinking water for more than 200,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio, and is estimated to have caused losses of some $65 million.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »