City wants air tested for toxins related to blue-green algae issue

Posted at 1:29 PM, Oct 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-02 15:29:12-04

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    CAPE CORAL, Fla. (WFTX) — It’s not a pretty sight and sometimes the smell can be worse, but is this blue-green algae actually sending toxins through the air you breathe? Council member Jessica Cosden says we all deserve to know and it’s the state’s responsibility.

“My request was to ask them to do their job, which is make sure that we’re healthy. That means if we’re breathing in air that’s unhealthy and dangerous, that we know about it,” said Cosden.

She’s familiar with the problems first hand.

“I’ve gotten a lot of complaints about breathing issues. I’ve had it myself when I went to the yacht club I was sneezing. There’s clearly something happening when you breathe this in,” Said Cosden.

The Florida Department of environmental protection has one testing location in Cape Coral that they use for testing ozone, but not toxins specifically from blue-green algae. And as of now, Florida does not have a test to determine how water toxins affect air quality.

So Cosden and the rest of the council members are sending an email to Florida DEP and Department of Health, asking them to create a test for measuring blue-green algae.

“I think if we do some testing now or in a couple months when we get into the range where there’s no algae problem, then we’ll have safe base line levels and we’ll know what to compare to,” said Cosden.

And they say time is of the essence. Cosden wonders about the long-term health effects from toxic algae.

“There’s suspicion that 30 years from now I can have Parkinson’s or more of a risk for cancer. I would like to know that now as I’m breathing in these fumes.”

Even though the state isn’t doing air testing, council member Cosden said the University of Miami has already taken some air samples in Cape Coral. They’re specifically looking for any toxins that may be released from blue green algae.

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