GreenWater Lab
CyanoLab

Algal Toxin Analysis, Algal Identification & Research

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Algal Toxins / CyanoToxins

Algal toxins are just as diverse as the organisms that produce them. The toxins are typically grouped by their main mode of action, such as hepatotoxins (toxins that damage the liver), dermatoxins (toxins that damage the skin) and neurotoxins (toxins that damage the nerve cells). Some toxins can even be harmful in more than one way, such as microcystins, which not only have the ability to harm the liver, but are also harmful to kidneys and may be even cause cancer. There is no known antidote for many of the toxins, so it is important to monitor algal blooms for their presence. It is also important to keep in mind that not all cyanobacteria are toxin producers, known toxin producers may not be producing at the time of the bloom, and some cyanobacteria can produce several different toxins at the same time. With monitoring and knowledge, the ability to keep people and animals safe can be relatively straightforward and undemanding.

Cyanotoxin / Algal Toxin Regulation:

Drinking Water

Currently, there are not any regulations in place to protect the public from cyanotoxins on a national scale in the United States, therefore many states have adopted their own strategies for monitoring toxins.

The following table includes some Drinking Water (D.W.) Guidance Values extracted from Literature:

Toxin

Ref. Type

Dose
(µg/kg per day)

Guidance value (D.W.)
(µg/L)

Microcystin-LR

NOAEL (WHO)

40

1.0-1.5

TDI (WHO)

0.04

BMDL(subchronic)

6

0.14

RfD (subchronic)

0.006

NOAEL (chronic)

3

0.07-0.10

RfD (chronic)

0.003

Cylindrospermopsin

TDI

0.03

0.8-1.0

Anatoxin-a

NOAEL

98

1.0-6.0

TDI

0.098

Saxitoxin(s)

NOAEL

0.5

3

ARfD

0.5

ARfD = acute reference dose
All uncertainty factors = 1000 (10=interspecies variability, 10=intraspecies variability, 10 =limitations in data)
BMDL= Benchmark Dose Methodology Level
Guidance values are based on 0.8-0.9 P (The proportion of total daily intake), 2 Liters of water and 60 kg person

 

Recreational Water

Recreational Public Health Advisory Levels vary since there is currently not a federal regulation, but many states have adopted a 6 µg/L (ppb) value for microcystins. States, such as Ohio, include advisory levels for anatoxin-a (80 µg/L), cylindrospermopsin (5 µg/L) and saxitoxins (0.8 µg/L).

The following links represent some ways that states are tackling HAB exposure, and are for informational purposes only:

Ohio State Seal

Ohio

Oregon State Seal

Oregon

Virginia State Seal

Virginia

Washington State Seal

Washington

 

For more information, please call or e-mail us at info@greenwaterlab.com.

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