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HEALTH, DEM Lift Contact Advisory for Water at Melville Pond

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) announce that recent test results have led them to lift a temporary advisory issued on August 27, 2010 regarding contact with water from Melville Pond in Portsmouth.

In August, a dense blue green algae bloom turned the waters of Melville Pond a bright green color. Laboratory results from tests on water samples taken at that time found unacceptable counts of blue green algae species present. These algae, also referred to as cyanobacteria, have the potential to form the naturally occurring algal toxins, Microcystin and Anatoxin. The toxins can cause harm to humans and animals. Skin rashes and irritation of the nose, eyes, and/or throat are common side effects that result from skin contact with water containing algal toxins. If water containing algal toxins is ingested, health effects include stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Young children and pets are more at risk to algal toxins than adults, since they are more likely to drink contaminated water.

Recent sampling of water from Melville Pond by DEM indicates that blue green algae cell counts and Microcystin levels are within acceptable limits.

Related links

Department or agency: Department of Health

Online: http://www.health.ri.gov

Release date: 10-29-2010

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