EPA Develops New Guidelines to Protect Swimmers from Toxic Algae

EPA Develops New Guidelines to Protect Swimmers from Toxic Algae

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has laid down new guidelines to protect swimmers and kayakers from the toxic algae that are growing in lakes and rivers.

Agency officials said they are majorly focusing on people who tend to swallow water while their recreational activities. The agency has even issued a report to Congress last week in which it said that it will also be looking at whether there is any need for new health advisories on algae toxins in drinking water.

According to experts, harmful algae blooms have spread itself to a wide area both in terms of intensity and numbers, the EPA said. It has been found that the algae bloom that spread across Lake Eric during last summer was the largest algae bloom ever recorded, the government scientists said earlier this month.

Another toxic algae outbreak stretched out to more than 600 miles along the Ohio River through four states. Dealing with the issue of toxic algae has become far more important after the toxins from algae contaminated the tap water for 400,000 people in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan in August 2014.

The EPA mentioned in its report that there are information gaps when it comes to understanding toxic algae. One of the major challenges is an incomplete understanding of how to prevent, predict, analyze, monitor and treat toxins in drinking water, the report said.

Experts said these toxins can cause rashes, diarrhea, vomiting and breathing difficulty. In some extreme cases, it can lead to liver, kidney and nervous system problems.

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