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Florida Lake Management Society Annual Conference, Naples, Florida, June 4 – 7, 2007

THE STATUS OF INTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS AND GUIDELINES FOR HUMAN EXPOSURE TO CYANOBACTERIA

John Burns MACTEC Engineering & Consulting Newberry, FL

Cyanobacteria and their toxins are an emerging issue for Florida lake managers and other surface water managers responsible for water quality, water supply, and human health. Since the first report of a toxic cyanobacterial bloom published in Nature (1878), wildlife mortality events

and the

isolated reports of human illness

scientific

literature.

Increases

following exposure in the occurrence

to of

cyanobacteria are found throughout cyanobacterial blooms, following

accelerated eutrophication of water bodies, and for elucidation of cyanotoxin groups, have reporting during the later half of the 21st

the availability of analytical tools and techniques

contributed to the

century.

Surface

increased frequency water managers and

of the health

professionals are now increasingly responding supplies and recreational waters, but are often clear understanding of potential ecological and protect human health.

to cyanobacterial bloom events in limited by the availability of algal human health risks, and guidelines

public water toxin data, a necessary to

The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a provisional guideline for microcystin-LR in drinking water. Many other countries have developed their own guidelines and regulations based on the WHO guideline and have added additional toxins to their lists. Human health effects following recreational exposure to cyanobacteria is an additional concern. Recreational contact guidelines offered by the WHO are linked to the probability of health effects at three levels: 1) low (2-4 µg L-1 MCYST), 2) moderate (20 µg L-1 MCYST), and 3) high (scum formation). Australia and others have recommended a recreational contact standard of 20 µg L-1 for 'high risk' activities such as swimming to 100 µg per liter for 'low risk' activities such as fishing or boating.

Federal guidelines for drinking water and recreational exposure to cyanotoxins in the US are not available, but cyanobacterial toxins are listed on the USEPA Contaminated Candidate List. Several states have individually adopted cyanobacterial toxin guidelines to help protect human health in the absence of federal guidelines.

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NOTES

Session 4 – Page 20

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