Blue-green algae is harmful to humans and animals.
A new study has found a harmful toxin, microcystin, in lakes all across Canada. In every province, there are high levels of the toxin, the product of blue-green algae bloom. The blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, are dangerous to both humans and animals, causing fish kills and contributing to liver cancer. It can also cause skin, eye, throat and nose irritation in humans.
According to the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, the highest concentration of the toxin was found in nutrient-rich lakes in Alberta and Manitoba, which have low nitrogen to phosphorus ratios. Concentrations across the country ranged from below minimum to extremely high.
Pet owners are being cautioned not to let their pets near green water, and some dog owners are reporting the death of their animals after romping in the affected water.
"Canadians enjoying their summer at the cottage need to know that those green scums of algae washing up on their beach are not only unsightly, but can also be a threat to their health and their children's health," said lead study author Diane Orihel in a release. "It's time to get serious about cleaning up the nutrients polluting our lakes."
Researchers say that industries like tourism, water sports, fishing and more will be in trouble if the toxicity levels are not lowered. They are now calling for further research and asking the government to establish a monitoring system for Canada’s water resources.