AFP Photo / Fred Tanneau
Microcystin, a toxin produced by algae has prompted officials to declare a state of emergency in Lucas County, Ohio. So serious is the danger that the County Health department has recommended that restaurants and food facilities close until the water supply is safe for consumers.
Algal blooms, often caused by the addition of nutrients to a water body, are made up of cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae. Some cyanobacteria can produce toxins, called cyanotoxins. Although many blooms contain non-toxic species of cyanobacteria, lab tests are needed to determine whether a bloom is toxic or nontoxic. Some cyanotoxins can be toxic for humans, animals and plants. The health effects include nausea, vomiting, fever, rashes, and eye and ear irritation.
Senator Rob Portman said:
“We‘re going to deal with this problem and look at the bigger issue later,” the senator said, at a press conference, about Toledo’s water supply.
The immediate issue is to ensure residents in the Toledo area have access to drinking water that is clean and safe. I have asked NOAA and the U.S. EPA to work closely with state and local officials on this current situation and to provide any assistance that may be requested,”
Toledo police have stayed on duty to ensure that order is maintained to escort water tankers and to provide a presence when the water is distributed to residents. Many people were queuing outside stores for over an hour before they opened and most stores had run dry of water and ready to drink liquids within minutes of opening their doors. Scuffles broke out and police had to attend several incidents due to ‘disturbances’ over bottled water.
All weekend school related activities have been cancelled and the zoo is closed until further notice.
The Collins Park water treatment plant that detected the problem delivers water to over 400,000 people spread over 100 square miles. A spokesman for the facility said he had no idea when the supply would be safe to use.
Unlike some contamination boiling will not help the problem and the city is advising people not to consume the water at all until further notice.
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Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!