Blue-green Algae and Health
- Blue-green Algae and Health bookmark (PDF, 276KB, 2 pp.); Blue-green Algae and Health brochure is available in Portable Document Format (PDF, 533KB, 2 pp.)
Blue-green algae are microscopic organisms that can form dense blooms in surface waters. People and animals should avoid blooms because blue-green algae can cause health effects.
It might be a blue-green algae bloom in surface water if you see:
- Strongly colored water (blue-green, green, yellow, white, brown, purple, or red).
- Paint-like appearance.
- Floating mats or scums.
Always stay away from blooms in surface waters:
- Don’t swim, fish, boat, or wade in areas with blooms.
- Don’t eat fish caught from areas with blooms.
If you are not on a public water supply and are using surface water:
- Bloom or no bloom, never drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with untreated surface water.
- During a bloom, don’t drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with surface water, even if you treat the water yourself. Also, consider not using it for showering, bathing, or washing.
If you are on public water:
- Your water is treated, disinfected and monitored for drinking and household use.
- Report blooms to: the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, your local health department, or email@example.com
- Report blue-green algae related symptoms to: your local health department or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Consider visiting a healthcare provider if you, your family, or your animals are experiencing symptoms related to blue-green algae exposure. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting; skin, eye, or throat irritation; and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties.
Get More Information
- More Details: Blue-green Algae and Health
- Blue-green Algae: Frequently Asked Questions
- Special Information for Public Beach Operators
- The following agencies also have information about harmful algal blooms: