Doctors warn of potential airborne toxins from algae & red tide

Lee Health just released brand new numbers regarding how many patients they are seeing for algae-related health concerns.

Even in areas where blue-green algae isn’t easy to see, signs are still posted warning to stay out of the water due to cyanobacteria.

Now, some doctors are saying you should stay away from the air as well.

Microsystins and cyanobacteria could be causing major health problems for those exposed.

On the east coast of Florida, FAU researchers found microsystins in 100 percent of people they tested, suggesting the toxins are airborne.

MORE: Testing for algae and red tide toxins coming to SWFL

Now doctors in Southwest Florida are warning of potential health risks.

“It does cause end-stage liver disease, liver cancer and animal studies have been shown that it does end up causing colorectal cancer, testicular cancer and intestinal cancer, so it is a very, very huge concern for all of us,” said Dr. Parisima Taeb, a local physician.

Dr. Taeb says symptoms we face now like coughing, shortness of breath, allergies and sinus flare-ups could be our body’s way of fighting these toxins.

“This is going to have a long-term health effect eventually,” Taeb said. “Five to ten years, God forbid, people are going to die. People are already dying probably but we’re not keeping accurate measures and accurate information about people.”

And without proper air testing, it will be difficult to avoid a toxin we can’t see or smell.

“The people in charge, they need to come here and let us know what can we do to prevent things but if nothing has been said then… what are we?” asked Jorge Santana. “What are we to the upper rank?”

Dr. Taeb recommends staying one mile away from the water.

Florida Poison Control says they have received more than 250 calls statewide this year about blue-green algae and red tide.

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