CDC plans to uncover the health effects of blue-green algae

It is dangerous. But what can it do to your health? That is the question at the center of the water quality crisis.

Now, researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are trying to get you answers. They are focusing on the people exposed to the algae blooms.

“It was full of algae,” Abdul Hafiz said. “Ugly looking. The clear water of the canal was gone and it made me sick.”

Literally sick, Hafiz said he had to get an inhaler last year to help him breathe after his Cape Coral canal on SE 44th Terr became filled with algae.

“Whenever i had somebody come in the north they say here is a paradise,” Hafiz said. “That paradise is not paradise anymore. That inlet has become hell.”

Peter Formica was so fed up with the view outside his Cape Coral condominium, he started cleaning it up himself.

“I was helping them scoop the stuff up on a daily basis,” Formica said.

Getting so close, he said, it impacted his health.

“I’m coughing and sneezing,” Formica said.

Concerns throughout Southwest Florida so great, the CDC is stepping in with plans to perform a study that would reveal what cyanobacteria does to someone’s health.

“Its a crisis,” said John Cassani, Calusa Waterkeeper. “We’re at a crisis level right now. there’s so much unknown about public health risk that people don’t know what to do.

Cassani said science is already showing a risk and problems have been connected to the green gunk.

“There’s this growing body of evidence of respiratory illness associated with proximity to these algae blooms,” Cassani said.

Now, it is about confirmed answers by federal authorities that some are not convinced will help.

“I’m not comfortable,” Formica said.

“The Center for Disease Control, I don’t know what they’re gonna do,” Hafiz said. “These government people don’t do much.”

Writer:Michael Mora
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