Testing for algae and red tide toxins coming to SWFL

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Algae cleanup in a canal on Aug. 8, 2018 at Waterway Estates in North Fort Myers.

Researchers with the FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute will be gathering samples from Southwest Florida residents to test for toxins from algal blooms and red tide.

FAU has been conducting testing on the east coast of Florida in Stuart to evaluate the levels of toxins present in human bodies. They are now fundraising to bring testing to Southwest Florida.

The studies in Stuart showed that 100 percent of those tested had microsystin toxins present from cyanobacteria in their nasal cavities. They are waiting for results from blood tests.

“This is serious stuff and it’s affecting us,” said Karl Deigert who is organizing the program.

The proposed project is conducted solely by FAU Harbour Branch Researchers. The CDC is a potential partner for laboratory analysis but they aren’t currently doing direct testing.

Researchers are seeking to fill a gap in data regarding exposure to algal blooms to determine public health risks.

The team is looking for volunteer nurses to help with testing. Those interested in volunteering can email Karl Deigert at karldeigert@outlook.com for more information.

Testing will be free and if you’d like to read more about the project or donate, you can visit their website.

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