HENDRY COUNTY, Fla. — The Calusa Waterkeeper says there is an urgent need for research on the blue-green algae that has been seen on Lake Okeechobee.
The non-profit, says previous studies have shown that cancer clusters in people living in south Florida may have been caused by inhaling blue-green algae blooms.
The Center's for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on 5/13 it will start new research on the health effects of people who have been exposed in south Florida during this year’s 2021 algal bloom season.
The Calusa Waterkeeper, John Cassani says he can already feel the impacts from this year's bloom.
“I was right next to bloom on the river a few days ago and I had an immediate upper respiratory irritation going on and I felt slightly nauseous and actually we had to leave the area and those are some of the typical symptoms from blue-green algae," he said.
Cassani tells us, the algae are already present 200-500 square miles of Lake Okeechobee.
The hope for the non-profit is that the study will create safer guidelines for the public to follow and discover the source of any diseases or cancers linked to exposure.
“I heard from Dr. Cox at the Brain Chemistry Institute recently saying because the disease manifests, later on, depending on your amount of exposure, perhaps a decade later… he thinks we are going to see a spike in neurodegenerative disease, ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer's," said Cassani.
A study similar to this was done in 2019 but was quickly kicked aside during the pandemic and was mostly focused on fishing guides and others who work near Lake Okeechobee.