Two Michigan Lakes Contain Toxic Algae

Blue-green algae has been confirmed by health officials in two Michigan lakes, Belleville Lake and Ford Lake. This toxic algae is deemed harmful to people and pets.

Harmful algae blooms occur under certain weather conditions, including high light and nutrients. When these blooms contain toxins or chemicals, they become harmful.

Reactions to Toxic Algae

Blue-green algae can cause skin irritations and rashes, allergic reactions, sore throat, blisters, and runny eyes when people come in contact with the water, or even get misted by it. Swallowing the water can have a more severe reactions, causing diarrhea, stomach pain, toxic kidney and liver, as well as general weakness, numbness, dizziness and difficulty breathing.

How to Protect Against Blue-Green Algae

  • Don’t drink lake water. The toxic effect isn’t even removed by boiling the lake water.
  • Avoid swimming in areas where the algae is visible.
  • Don’t eat fish from the contaminated lakes.
  • Be aware of what the foamy algae blooms look like. The scum on top the of the lake is usually green or blue, but can also be reddish brown.
  • Since Belleville Lake and Ford Lake have been identified as having toxic algae, extreme cautions should be used on these lakes.
  • If exposed to the toxic algae, rinse the affected area with fresh water and seek medical attention.

Testing was done at the boat launch on September 12th at both lakes and the toxins were present, as well as visible signs of the blue-green algae. Officials say that is its safe to boat and water ski in the affected lakes, but people should do so using caution and follow the posted signs regarding beach closings.