Lake Winnipeg algae potentially harmful if inhaled
A new study suggests Manitobans swimming or boating along the shores of Lake Winnipeg and other popular beaches are at risk of inhaling airborneblue-green algae, which is toxic and can cause potentially serious health effects.
United States-based toxicologist Dr. Bill Bress has studied the health risks from toxins produced by blue-green algae in Vermont for the state Health Department since 1998, and published his findings earlier this spring.
Vermont has the same blue-green algae found in parts of Lake Winnipeg and in lakes and ponds elsewhere in southern and central Manitoba.
The scummy green film can become airborne when swimmers or recreational boaters splash around in the water, Bress said.
Emerging research shows inhaling or ingesting the algae is linked to a variety of adverse health effects, he said, ranging from flu-like symptoms such as vomiting and fever to liver or brain damage and, in extreme cases, death.