Toronto Public Health warns public of 'concerning' blue-green algae

Jul 17 2018, 9:28 pm

Toronto Public Health (TPH) has issued a warning to the public regarding ‘concerning’ blue-green algae blooms found in Humber Bay East.

TPH received confirmation from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks of the presence of blue-green algae blooms at the mouth of Mimico Creek and in Humber Bay Park East.

Water samples taken and tested by the Ministry indicate the presence of blue-green algae.

According to TPH, blue-green algae, which is also known as cyanobacteria, are plant-like organisms that can range in colour from olive-green to red and can form naturally in a number of environments including ponds, rivers, lakes, and streams.

The algae is easily visible and should be avoided due to the potential health risks associated with it.

TPH says some species of this specific type of algae have the potential to produce toxins that are harmful to the health of both humans and animals.

Exposure to blue-green algae toxins, if present in sufficient amounts, can cause the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Skin rashes
  • Mucous membrane irritation

TPH is encouraging the public to take precautions when visiting this part of the Toronto waterfront, as beaches in this area are not regularly monitored for water quality or supervised by lifeguards.

The public is urged to not enter the water in this section of Mimico Creek and to avoid contact with or ingestion of the water. Residents should also avoid allowing pets to enter the water in Mimico Creek.

Individuals who come into contact with the water should wash themselves off as soon as possible.

If any of the above symptoms are experienced following a potential exposure to blue-green algae, contact a healthcare provider.

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