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Beaches closed Chatham-Kent

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Beaches are being closed in Chatham-Kent because of a green pea-soup bloom on the shores of Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.

The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit made the announcement this afternoon.

Health officials say the green water is the result of a cyanobacterial bloom.

Test by by the Ministry of Environment in areas adjacent to Chatham-Kent confirm the presence of cyanobacteria (formerly known as blue-green algae). Health official says it's highly likely the bloom in Chatham-Kent is the result of cyanobacteria. The bacteria can produce toxins that are harmful to the health of people and animals.

The risk to health comes from contact and/or consumption of the water. Skin contact with contaminated water can cause itchy irritated skin or eyes. If the toxins are swallowed symptoms such as headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting are likely and serious neurological effects have been seen occasionally.

Meanwhile, municipal drinking water supplies are being monitored. The Chatham-Kent water treatment plant regularly tests for cyanobacterial toxin and can take action quickly to remove any health risk.

The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit is advising the public to avoid exposure to the blue green algae.

• Do not swim or wade in any water when a noticeable green surface scum or green discolouration of the water is present

• Do not use the water for drinking, bathing or showering

• Do not allow children, pets or livestock to drink or swim in the water.

• Do not boil the water or treat it with a disinfectant, as this will release more toxins into the water

• Eating fish caught in water where cyanobacterial blooms occur is not recommended.

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