Protecting and Preserving Black Lake and the Surrounding Watershed

New Research on Impact of HABs

The Great Lakes Hazardous Algal Blooms (HABs) Collaborative recently released two new fact sheets summarizing research on the impacts of harmful algal blooms on human health.  These fact sheets contain significant information pertinent to Black Lake as well as the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes HABs provided short descriptions of what the fact sheets contain:

  • The first fact sheet,  Chronic Long-Term Health Effects of HAB Toxins, summarizes emerging research on chronic HABs toxin exposure on the body, including on the respiratory, neurological and cardiovascular systems. According to recent lab studies, HAB toxins may cause inflammation in the lungs and disrupt lung cell structure; may damage neurons and disrupt normal brain cell function; and can lead to cardiac inflammation and tissue scarring. Frequency of exposure, dose, and personal health conditions play an important role in how any of the various toxins that may be produced by a HAB can affect a person’s health. When spending time along Great Lakes coasts and inland waters, it is important to be aware of any signs posting local health advisories, which may include warnings related to the presence of a HAB.
  • The second fact sheet, Health Effects Associated with Exposure to HAB Toxins through Aerosolization,  summarizes the current understanding of the effects of inhalation of HABs aerosols: when a HAB is agitated (by waves, wind, or boat traffic), it may release aerosols into the air, and aerosols generated from water with HABs have been found to contain HAB toxins. Some animal studies have demonstrated negative health consequences such as inflammation from the inhalation of HABs aerosols and some water users have reported respiratory irritation. An epidemiological study found respiratory symptoms were more likely in humans exposed to high levels of HAB aerosols.

See the Great Lakes HABs Collaborative for much more information about HABs and the work of the Collaborative.