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Blue-Green Algae

Blue-green algae blooms are a natural seasonal phenomenon that may appear in lakes, rivers and ponds. Some species have the potential to produce toxins which may be harmful to people and animals. Toxins are released into the water when the algae cells are damaged or begin to decay. Direct contact with the toxin can cause skin irritation and if ingested in higher concentrations, may result in vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

The Porcupine Health Unit asks residents to monitor area waters and if an algae bloom is present, please take these precautions and report the bloom to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Park's Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.

  • Use an alternate source of water; boiling the water or using home water treatment devices will not destroy the toxins.
  • Do not use the water for drinking or for food preparation including infant formula;
  • Avoid using the water for washing dishes and clothes; 
  • Avoid eating fish caught from areas where an algae bloom is present; 
  • Use of the water is not recommended for animals; pets and livestock can also be affected; and
  • Avoid swimming and other water sport activities that could increase the risk of ingestion and/or skin contact as the toxins can irritate the skin.

Watch this video: What causes blue-green algae blooms?

For more information, see the Government of Ontario Blue-green algae page.