Toxic Algae

Lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams are a critical source of drinking water for millions of Americans. They also provide recreational opportunities and a habitat for wildlife. These bodies of water are essential to our daily lives.

Algae blooms, fueled by a changing climate and nutrient pollution, threaten many of these waters and they appear to be on the rise. What’s worse, in some cases these outbreaks produce toxic bacteria also known as cyanotoxins. Ingestion of these toxins has been associated with many health issues, ranging from diarrhea to cancer.

Currently, no government agency is tracking data on algae outbreaks for the entire country. EWG now tracks and monitors these algae outbreaks nationally in an effort to quantify their impact on drinking water, public health and the environment.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Across America, outbreaks of toxic algae, triggered by polluted farm runoff, are increasing in frequency and severity, fouling drinking water with dangerous toxins. In 2014, an algae outbreak in Lake Erie contaminated the tap water for 500,000 people in and around Toledo, Ohio, rendering it unsafe to drink for three days. 

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Unregulated animal factory farms are funneling nutrient-rich pollution into Lake Erie, feeding an enormous toxic algae bloom each summer, according to a new investigation by the Environmental Working Group and the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

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News Release
Monday, April 8, 2019

The Maumee River, overloaded with fertilizer and manure, is the single largest source of the phosphorus that triggers blooms of toxic algae in Lake Erie. Over half of the manure in the Maumee River watershed comes from an exploding number of unregulated factory farms, a new EWG and Environmental Law & Policy Center investigation reveals.

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Reports & Consumer Guides
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Outbreaks of toxic algae in U.S. waterways usually happen in warmer months. But in a sign that the problem is growing worse, algae blooms were reported in December in Michigan and Washington state, with another reported in Florida during the first days of spring.

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News and Analysis
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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Outbreaks of potentially toxic algae in U.S. lakes, rivers and other waterways rose by an additional 40 percent this year compared to 2017, according to EWG’s tracking of news reports. 

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This summer, EWG is tracking outbreaks of potentially toxic algae across the U.S. We have been startled to find that these outbreaks are erupting everywhere: from the East Coast to the West Coast, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

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News and Analysis
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Friday, September 14, 2018

Outbreaks of potentially toxic algae in U.S. lakes, rivers, streams and even the Gulf of Mexico continue to rise sharply this summer, according to EWG’s ongoing tracking of algae outbreaks.

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Friday, August 31, 2018

An unprecedented environmental catastrophe is striking Florida’s storied beaches, lakes and rivers this summer. Outbreaks of three separate strains of harmful algae are killing fish and other marine animals, threatening public health and devastating recreation and tourism.

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AgMag
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Friday, August 10, 2018

Outbreaks of potentially toxic algae are rising sharply this summer in lakes, rivers and streams in the U.S., according to EWG’s ongoing tracking of algae outbreaks.

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AgMag
Article
Friday, June 29, 2018

Millions of people could be exposed to potentially toxic algae blooms this July Fourth holiday.

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AgMag
Article
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Across the U.S., there is a growing epidemic of harmful algal blooms – also known as blue-green algae – polluting lakes, rivers and swimming holes, EWG reported this month.

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Children's Health
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

In 2010, there were just three reports of toxic blooms in the U.S. In 2015, there were 15, including the largest to date in Lake Erie, although the bacteria did not get into Toledo’s drinking water. In 2016, there were 51, including a huge bloom in Florida that prompted the state to declare an emergency in four counties on the Atlantic Coast. Last year, 169 blooms were reported. And in March, Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared the open waters of western Lake Erie “impaired for recreation” – an unprecedented designation that under the federal Clean Water Act will require the development and enforcement of plans to reduce toxic blooms.

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Reports & Consumer Guides
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Across the U.S., a growing epidemic of toxic algal blooms is polluting lakes and other waterways, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

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News Release
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

In 2014, Toledo was the first U.S. city where a toxic algal bloom made tap water unsafe to drink. But it may not be last, says a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

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News Release
Thursday, September 8, 2016

From Florida beaches to Lake Erie to the California Delta, algal blooms threaten human health and aquatic ecosystems. Cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, produce toxins that can make people sick and even kill pets.
 

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AgMag
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Thursday, June 30, 2016

What comes to mind when you think of the Florida coast? Sandy beaches, sunshine, warm water and … toxic algal blooms? 

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AgMag
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Friday, October 9, 2015

Ripped from the pages of an obscure science fiction novel, millions run screaming from the threat of a toxic algal bloom blanketing almost 650 miles of the Ohio River. Regrettably, this story isn’t made up. Officials in the Ohio River basin are scrambling to deal with poisonous slime that may compromise the safety of drinking water, suffocate aquatic life and halt recreational activity for much of the region.

 

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