Harmful Algal Blooms Answers
Harmful algal blooms are overgrowths of algae in water. Some produce dangerous toxins in fresh or marine water but even nontoxic blooms hurt the environment and local economies.
Harmful algal blooms can:
-Produce extremely dangerous toxins that can sicken or kill people and animalsCreate dead zones in the waterRaise treatment costs for drinking water
-Hurt industries that depend on clean water
What causes harmful algal blooms?
Harmful algal blooms need:
-Nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus)
-Nutrient pollution from human activities makes the problem worse, leading to more severe blooms that occur more often.
Learn where nutrient pollution comes from.
-It's slimy or looks like foam.
-The color is weird or looks like paint. Algal blooms can be blue, bright green, brown, or red.
-It smells bad.
It can be hard to tell if an algal bloom is toxic so pay attention to local water advisories.
State departments of health or environment are often the best place to find local information about harmful algal blooms.
Harmful algae can be dangerous for animals who drink or swim in affected water.
Simple actions around your home and yard can make a big difference.
EPA fights harmful algal blooms by working to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.
Find research and publications
CDC Health Studies Program
USGS Algal Toxin Research Team
NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research