August 31, 2015

IowaWatch Connection: Water Toxins

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This year marked a record number of state beach closings due to microcystin, a liver toxin produced by cyanobacteria, more commonly called blue-green algae. What are the risks for people, pets and livestock that come into contact with the toxin? And why are we seeing more of it at Iowa beaches?

This radio program is based off of an IowaWatch story:
“Severity of Algae In Iowa Lakes Is On The Rise,” By Lauren Mills

Mary Skopec heads the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Beach Monitoring Program, which monitors state-owned beaches for the toxin as well as bacteria levels. She said the blue-green algae blooms seem to be increasing both in number and in severity.

As part of the program, warnings are posted at beaches with high toxin levels, but because not all lakes in the state are monitored she said people should be aware of the water quality while recreating.

“I wouldn’t be scared to go into that water if all the indications are that things are fine — clear water, hasn’t had a bloom,” she said. “I don’t want people to panic, I just want people to use common sense and good information to recreate.”

Listen to learn more:

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