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AZ health department says to watch out for algae blooms this summer

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 1:43pm
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With summer on the way, Arizonans are reaching for their life jackets, inner tubes and fishing poles.

But the Arizona Department of Health Services says folks should check for green globs, blue streaks and bad smells before taking to the water.

In an agency blog post, Deputy Director for Public Health Services Carla Berg said algae and cyanobacteria can rapidly bloom when waters of all types are warm, slow-moving and nutrient-rich.

Overgrowths, or blooms, can produce substances that irritate skin, eyes, nose, lungs and throat. If ingested, some toxins can cause stomach aches, headaches, neurological symptoms, vomiting, diarrhea and even liver damage.

Boiling does not remove the toxins, which can accumulate in fish, and boating can send them airborne.

Because there's no way to see if a bloom is harmful, Berg says, "When in doubt, just stay out."