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University researchers across Florida work to figure out how algal blooms affect our health

Imagine driving and seeing a sign advertising a public health study on algae. Researchers want to check how the air from the algae outbreaks affect you.

From the air to the people who breathe it, universities from both coasts work in tandem to find out how algal blooms affect our health.

Florida Atlantic University researchers collected samples from people like Terry Glenn of Cape Coral. “Well, I think it’s important to, you know, participate in any studies that relate to what’s affecting our waters.”

“We’re taking a nasal swab, urine sample and a blood sample, and then we’re also collecting background information with medical history, exposure history as well,” said Adam Schaefer, Epidemiologist at FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.

At the same time, FGCU researchers take air samples.

“We’ll do an analysis of this material and if we find that there are toxins associated with each one of these dots, for example, then we know that you’re breathing in the particles that are containing the toxins,” said Dr. Mike Parsons, professor at the Water School at FGCU.

This is just one step in what they hope will be a long-term study to figure out what’s at risk when it comes to our health.

The work certainly doesn’t stop here. FAU is looking for participants in Clewiston.

Researchers will take samples from people on Feb. 28 at the Department of Health Building starting at 10:30 a.m.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
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