Recreational exposure to microcystins during algal blooms in two California lakes

  • Backer L
  • McNeel S
  • Barber T
 et al. 
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We conducted a study of recreational exposure to microcystins among 81 children and adults planning recreational activities on either of three California reservoirs, two with significant, ongoing blooms of toxin-producing cyanobacteria, including Microcystis aeruginosa (Bloom Lakes), and one without a toxin-producing algal bloom (Control Lake). We analyzed water samples for algal taxonomy, microcystin concentrations, and potential respiratory viruses (adenoviruses and enteroviruses). We measured microcystins in personal air samples, nasal swabs, and blood samples. We interviewed study participants for demographic and health symptoms information. We found highly variable microcystin concentrations in Bloom Lakes (500 μg/L); microcystin was not detected in the Control Lake. We did not detect adenoviruses or enteroviruses in any of the lakes. Low microcystin concentrations were found in personal air samples (

Author-supplied keywords

  • Aerosol exposures
  • Blue-green algae
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Microcystins
  • Microcystis aeruginosa
  • Waterborne exposures

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  • Lorraine C. Backer

  • Sandra V. McNeel

  • Terry Barber

  • Barbara Kirkpatrick

  • Christopher Williams

  • Mitch Irvin

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