FGCU researchers install air quality pump to test blue-green algae toxins

Reporter: Anika Henanger
Published: Updated:
Photo: WINK News

Florida Gulf Coast University researchers are tired of waiting on other groups to test how blue-green algae affects our air quality.

They took matters into their own hands and created an air quality pump.

The air pump has different layers of filters, similar to your respiratory system.

“We are looking at microsysten. So that’s a toxin produced by mycrosystis which is the blue-green algae that’s been a big concern this summer here in the Cape,” said Dr. Mike Parsons, Professor of Marine Science Florida Gulf Coast University.

Parsons is also the director of the Coastal Watershed Institute, and he says the residents along the canals are asking if breathing the air near blue-green algae is healthy.

“We don’t have a good answer for them,” he said.

Researchers say if they find the mycrosysten towards the bottom of the filter, it means the toxins could reach the bloodstream like oxygen does.

“It’s a hepytoxen meaning it’s a liver toxin and a kidney toxin so, it could have serious health concerns,” Parsons said.

It’s exactly what homeowner Anthony Karp is afraid of, so he offered up his home as a testing site.

“I’m gonna do whatever it takes to help them out with it,” he said.

In two weeks, when results are collected, Cape Coral may get a breath of fresh air along with some answers.

“I think this is the kind of work we need to be looking at from a human health risk front of you just so we can check the box off ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and is it a concern,” Parsons said.

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