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FDOH starts testing air quality for red tide toxins in Southwest Florida

Posted: 5:35 AM, Oct 08, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-08 14:30:14Z

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. -- As Florida’s algae bloom continues, the Department of Health will start testing the air quality for red tide toxins on Monday.

They are teaming up with Mote Marine Laboratory to conduct the tests on Southwest Florida shores.

Mote scientists say their research shows that airborne red tide toxins can travel up to 2.6 miles inland, depending on the wind direction.

That means even if you are a couple blocks away from the beach, those toxins can affect you.

They say some people have experienced respiratory irritation even further from the shore.

Now, there’s a big community push demanding answers on how red tide toxins affect our health.

Mote scientists say they will place a dozen air samplers to test if any toxins are reaching the distances being reported.

The samplers will be deployed 6 to 12 hours at a time.

They will begin testing in Sarasota County, 8 to 10 miles inland from the coast.

Then, they will analyze samples collected at the Mote lab in Sarasota.

They will eventually do the same tests in Pinellas and Lee counties where red tide is prevalent.

Mote scientists say they monitor the beaches to determine the exact locations where they will place the sampling instruments in Lee County.

They have not scheduled a date yet on when they will conduct those tests.