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DOH: Avoid Carbuncle Pond Blue Green Algae

[CREDIT: EPA] Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, produce toxins that are hazardous to humans and animals.
[CREDIT: EPA] Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, produce toxins that are hazardous to humans and animals.
[CREDIT: EPA] Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, produce toxins that are hazardous to humans and animals. The growths have been detected in Carbuncle Pond. Officials warn people to avoid all contact and recreation there.

COVENTRY, RI— RI health & environment officials warn people of Carbuncle Pond Blue Green algae detected in the pond, urging them against all recreation on and in the water.

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) advise people to avoid contact with Carbuncle Pond, since blue-green algae toxins can harm people and animals. Toxins and/or high cell counts have been detected by the RIDOH State Health Laboratory from water samples collected by the DEM.

“Use caution in all areas of Carbuncle Pond. Cyanobacteria can sink or float to control their location in the water column. Other factors such as, wind, rain and wakes from recreational activities can affect the location of a bloom. All recreation, including swimming, fishing, boating and kayaking, should be avoided. People should not ingest water or eat fish from the ponds. Pets can also be affected by exposure to the algal toxins and thus owners should not allow pets to drink or swim in the water. The advisory will remain in effect until further notice,” RIDOH announced Thursday.

All recreation, including swimming, fishing, boating, and kayaking, should be avoided, the agencies advise. People should not ingest water or eat fish from the ponds. Pets can also be affected by exposure to the algal toxins so owners should not allow pets to drink or swim in the water. The advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

People, animals at risk in toxic waters

People should be careful not to ingest water or eat fish from the ponds. All recreation, including fishing, boating, and kayaking, should be avoided. Animals who may ingest pond water are especially at risk from exposure to the algal toxins, so owners should not allow pets to drink or swim in the water. The advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

Skin contact with water containing blue-green algae commonly causes irritation of the skin, nose, eyes, and/or throat. Common health effects associated with ingesting water containing algal toxins include stomach-ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Rarer health effects include dizziness, headache, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage. Young children and pets are at a particular risk for health effects associated with algal toxins. People who have had contact with pond waters and experience those symptoms should contact their healthcare provider.

What to do if you contact blooms in lakes & ponds

If you come into contact with the water, rinse your skin with clean water as soon as possible and, when you get home, take a shower and wash your clothes. Similarly, if your pet comes into contact with the water, immediately wash your pet with clean water. Do not let the animal lick its fur. Call a veterinarian if your animal shows any symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning, including loss of energy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or any unexplained sickness that occurs within a day or so after being in contact with water. People are cautioned that toxins may persist in the water after the blue-green algae bloom is no longer visible.

Beware of unreported blue-green algae blooms 

Blue-green algae blooms may also be affecting other waterbodies in Rhode Island. People are advised to avoid contact with waterbodies that exhibit bright green coloration in the water or at the water surface and/or dense floating algal mats that form on the water’s surface. The water may look like green paint, thick pea soup, or green cottage cheese.

For more information and a list of current and historical advisories, go to www.dem.ri.gov/bluegreen  Please send reports of suspected blue-green algae blooms, along with photographs, if possible to [email protected].

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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