Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Scientists To Study Blue-Green Algae Impact On Humans

Dead fish on the shore of a beach.
Stephen Splane / WUSF Public Media
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Scientists are studying whether blue-green algae exposure impacts human health.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute are taking take nasal swabs, blood and urine looking for traces of the toxic blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) that's been plaguing Florida beaches.

They're studying possible links between algae toxins and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and potentially liver failure. The study is being funded though social media crowd-sourcing.

The News-Press reports toxins from cyanobacteria produces health effects in humans and animals ranging from mild cold-like symptoms to neurodegenerative diseases, but they're often unreported or misdiagnosed by public health authorities.

Harbor Branch researchers say there's no data about human and animal exposure to the blooms. The state health department is not studying potential impacts of exposure.

The study will be peer-reviewed after it's completed. It could take six months to a year.