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RIDOH and RIDEM Lift Public Health Advisory on Scott Pond in Lincoln

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) are lifting the public health advisory that had been put in place for Scott Pond in Lincoln because of a cyanobacteria bloom.

The cyanobacteria bloom was identified in April. Samples taken at the pond by the Town of Lincoln on May 31st and June 14th indicate that the cyanobacteria bloom has subsided. Contact with and recreational activities on the pond may now be resumed.

Cyanobacteria blooms (or blue-green algae, as they are sometimes called) affect freshwater lakes and ponds throughout the state each year. Rhode Islanders should avoid contact with water that is bright green, either on or beneath the surface, as well as water that has dense, floating algal mats on the surface. Water with cyanobacteria blooms may look like green paint or thick pea soup. The public can report cyanobacteria blooms to DEM by calling 401-222-4700.

Cyanobacteria have the potential to form the naturally occurring algal toxins Microcystin and Anatoxin. These toxins can harm humans and animals. Skin rashes and irritation of the nose, eyes, and/or throat are common side effects that result from contact with water containing algal toxins. If water containing algal toxins is ingested, health effects may include stomachache, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Young children and pets are at greater risk than adults because are more likely to drink contaminated water. Other health effects, which are rarer, include dizziness, headache, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage.

People who experience these symptoms and have been swimming or fishing in water with a suspected bloom, or who have been drinking untreated water from a waterbody with a suspected bloom, should contact their healthcare providers. People observing pets exhibiting adverse health symptoms after contact with potentially affected water should contact their veterinarians. People that come into contact with potentially affected water should rinse their skin with clean water as soon as possible, and wash their clothes.

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