CHENANGO COUNTY – Those looking to swim or drink from lakes in New York State this spring and summer should beware of algae blooms that are present in almost 100 bodies of water in the state. While unsightly and undesirable, the blue-green algae blooms can also have averse health effects as they produce the toxin cyanotoxin. Two of these lakes are in Chenango County – Chenango Lake and Echo Lake. Chenango Lake is listed as a source for drinking water.
“Harmful blue-green algae blooms can cause health effects when people and animals come in contact with them,” states the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website. “Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties. Blue-green algae can also produce toxins that affect the liver and nervous systems when water is consumed in sufficient quantities.”
According to a press release from Senator Chuck Schumer's office, “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported on three instances in which a total of six people suffered rashes, sores, swelling, eye irritation and congestion after exposure to algae toxins in New York lakes.”
Senator Schumer spoke on this issue at a conference yesterday and urges the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action.