The toxic algal bloom on Lake O has been recorded as large as 500 square miles this spring, making it bigger than the size of New York City, and has also recently tested more than 100 times too toxic for human contact, according to the EPA!
It is a massive threat to public health, it is not contained, and urgent action is required!
I am also deeply concerned for the health of the U.S. Army personnel stationed at Port Mayaca and around Lake O. The recent algal bloom outbreak at Pahokee Marina is just the latest in a long line of toxic outbreaks that are truly putting lives at risk.
Pahokee made the right decision by shutting down their marina to protect public health, and other agencies should follow suit. That is why I wrote to Acting Secretary of the Army John Whitley urging him to protect Army Corps personnel from the threats associated with toxic algae.
Specifically, I’m urging him to ensure:
No U.S Army Corps of Engineers personnel should be placed at structures on or around Lake Okeechobee when cyanotoxins above the EPA limit are present.
The U.S. Army should provide immediate medical evaluation for the men and women currently working at structures around Lake Okeechobee who have been exposed to the cyanotoxins above the EPA limit.
The medical files of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel working at structures around Lake Okeechobee should note their exposure to cyanotoxins and the levels of microcystin to which they were exposed. If these individuals develop liver failure, kidney failure, ALS, or Alzheimer’s, it should be considered presumptively service connected.
There should be daily testing of algae at the structures in order to assess if personnel are being exposed to toxins.
I will keep fighting to stop toxic discharges, and I will keep you updated if he responds!