Think the algae is just in the water? Think again…

Without touching or swallowing the water, lake spray aerosol formation creates novel airborne exposure risks to harmful algal blooms and toxins.

Can cyanobacteria and toxins spread through air?

Surface water with harmful algal blooms (HABs, notably cyanobacteria) and their organic compounds may also affect the surrounding air.

Scientists from Michigan State University have investigated whether harmful algae and associated compounds can be present in aerosols.

This is not only relevant for large surface waters with breaking waves, but also on other locations with aerosol-exposure risk, such as urban waters with fountains or bathing waters. Moreover, the methodology could also be applied to study other airborne health risks, such as transfer of Veterans’ Disease through inhalation of Legionella pneumophila. This will become increasingly relevant in the near future, as intensifying water reuse may also create greater aerosol-associated risks.

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