How do you tell if a lake is safe to swim in?

In May, the Texas Brazos River Authority warned residents about potentially dangerous algae in Lake Granbury in North Texas, CBS DFW first reported. Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, are responsible for harmful algal blooms. Pets, especially dogs, are particularly susceptible to harmful algae because they are relatively small and swallow more water (e.g., microcystin and anatoxin) produced by cyanobacteria in Wisconsin waters as they swim and play.

Even if the water is not completely clear, but rather a cloudy, bluish colour, you can allow limited swimming.

Is it safe to swim in a lake with green algae?

In aquatic animals, e.g. fish and frogs, blue-green algae cause a number of serious side effects ranging from deformities to death. When fertilisers and animal manure enter lakes, rivers and bays, fertiliser chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorus can stimulate the uncontrolled growth of cyanobacteria. While not all blue-green algae produce harmful toxins, those that do can cause skin rashes, diarrhoea and breathing problems. Swimming is the most worrisome activity, as children and young people could swallow a few sips of contaminated water.

In May, the Brazos River Authority in Texas warned the public about potentially dangerous algae in Lake Granbury in North Texas, CBS DFW first reported.

Is green algae harmful to humans?

Holland said authorities would be able to determine if the family died from the toxic algae based on the chemicals present in the tissue, which could be detected in a toxicology report. Back in July, harmful blue-green algae had led to beach closures and warnings in Vermont, Rhode Island and Ohio. Often these blooms have the potential to harm people or ecosystems. In this case, they are referred to as "harmful algal blooms" or HABs. Harmful algae and cyanobacteria (sometimes called blue-green algae) can produce toxins (poisons) that can make people and animals sick and harm the environment.

Blue-green algae or cyanobacteria are harmful algae that can occur in almost all freshwater systems.

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Amie Pross

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