The Nose Knows: Study Establishes Airborne Exposure to Harmful Algal Blooms’ Toxins

There are no limits specific to airborne concentrations of microcystins (blue-green algae) or inhalation guidelines. Little is known about recreational and occupational exposure to these toxins. New research provides evidence of aerosol exposure to microcystins in coastal residents. Researchers detected microcystin in the nasal passages of 95 percent of the participants; some who reported no direct contact with impacted water. Results also showed higher concentrations among occupationally exposed individuals and demonstrated a relationship between nasal and water microcystin concentrations.

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