What is blue-green algae, and why is it a problem?

Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, is a filmy, paint-like scum that has been discovered on many water bodies across the country in recent years. Combinations of warm water and higher levels of nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorous, allow the algae to proliferate.

Sometimes the algae contains toxins, called microcystins. Toxic blooms are known as harmful algal blooms, or HABs, and can cause health problems in humans and animals. According to the Cayuga County Health Department, contact with blue-green algae toxins can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat and inflammation of the respiratory tract. Consuming the toxins can cause damage to the liver, kidneys and nervous system.

The Auburn Citizen – News:
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