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How Can Nutrient Pollution Affect Me

Nutrient PollutionNutrient runoff is the fuel for harmful algal blooms. Nutrient pollution and the algal blooms can create toxins and compounds that are dangerous to your health. There are many ways that humans and pets can be exposed to these compounds.

Direct Exposure To The Algal Blooms

Ingesting or swimming in water affected by a harmful algal bloom can cause some serious health issues. These problems include:

  • Rashes
  • Stomach Illness
  • Liver Illness
  • Respiratory Problems
  • Neurological Effects

Drinking Water That Has Nitrates In It

Nitrates can be found in fertilizers on farms to the fertilizer you use to feed your lawn. These fertilizers can run off into your water supply and can contaminate your drinking water. Infants who drink water that contains a high level of nitrates can become seriously ill or even die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue-tinted skin. This condition is known as blue baby syndrome.

In 2010 the U.S. Geological Survey found that nitrates were too high in 64 percent of shallow wells in agricultural and urban areas.

Water Treatment Byproducts

Rainwater runoff carries nutrients directly into rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. These bodies of water serve as a source of drinking water to a lot of people. When the city uses disinfectants to treat drinking water, it interacts with the toxic algae. This interaction between the algal and the disinfectants can create harmful chemicals called dioxins. Dioxins have been linked to reproductive and developmental health risks and even cancer.

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