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Feds testing willing area residents for exposure to blue-green algae

BGA Algae study story.JPG
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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How blue-green algae may effect humans is the subject of an ongoing study of willing residents who live along canals in Lee County. Gift cards are given to those who provide lung tests and blood samples.

Southwest Florida residents who live on a canal in Cape Coral, or anywhere else along the Caloosahatchee River, are being invited to be part of a federal study into the human health effects of blue-green algae.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through its National Center for Environmental Health, is conducting a research study it’s calling CAST, which stands for Cyanotoxins in Air Study.

“We are researching whether these toxins can get into our bodies through the air we breathe,” the agency said on its website. “The purpose of the study is to find out if breathing these toxins can make people sick.”

That is a question a lot of people who live along those waterways ask, and many believe they already have an affirmative answer to; however, the CDC’s study is designed to take opinion and wash it through the scientific process to produce answers about blue-green algae’s effects on humans that are bulletproof.

The CDC’s requirements are for residents who are at least 18 years old, live or work near a canal or the river, spend at least 2 hours outside on most days, and are willing and able to do study activities including a lung function test.

“We are researching whether these toxins can get into our bodies through the air we breathe,” the agency said on its website. “The purpose of the study is to find out if breathing these toxins can make people sick.”
- The Centers for Disease Control

Participants will meet with a CDC staffer multiple times when a bloom is present, which is most often between March and October. In addition to the lung test, volunteers will need to provide nasal swabs, blood and urine specimens, record their time spent outdoors, and wear an air monitor.

Participants will receive incentives, including gift cards, for their time.

People who met the qualifications and are interested can call (561) 297-4631 or send an email to cast@cdc.gov

Environmental reporting for WGCU is funded in part by VoLo Foundation, a non-profit with a mission to accelerate change and global impact by supporting science-based climate solutions, enhancing education, and improving health. 

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