Environmental Public Health

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Environmental Public Health

Cyanobacteria - Blue Green Algae

Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) occur in fresh-, brackish- and sea-waters throughout the world; in Scotland, they can occur in quantity in lochs, ponds, canals and reservoirs. While usually green or blue-green in colour, they may be blue, black, dark brown or red.

Surveys in different parts of the world have found that between about 45% and 90% of blooms of blue-green algae produce a range of toxins including neuro- and hepatotoxins and lipopolysaccharides.

Algal blooms are inherently complex and assessment of the associated risks to public health is not straightforward. Such assessments should therefore take account of specialist advice.

Guidelines and information have been compiled on the assessment and response to blue-green algal blooms.