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CDC to study effects of toxic Florida algal blooms on humans

A photo of Lake Okeechobee taken from space. Courtesy of NASA.

A photo of Lake Okeechobee taken from space. Courtesy of NASA.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are planning a 2020 study of at least 50 Lake Okeechobee biologists, fishing guides, airboat operators and commercial anglers with high exposure to cyanobacterial algal blooms. Scientists will collect information by sampling their blood, urine, lung function and nasal swabs to assess if “exposure to toxic algal blooms is associated with health symptoms and/or outcomes,” according to the project outline in the Federal Register.

TCPalm.com reported that no one has been recruited for the study yet and that one Okeechobee guide said most won’t volunteer, as the study would bring negative publicity that could hurt business.

Written opinions about the study must be submitted to the CDC by Nov. 18.

Comments can be submitted at the Federal eRulemaking Portal, Regulations.gov or mailed to Jeffrey M. Zirger, Information Collection Review Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road N.E., MS-D74, Atlanta, GA 30329.

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