a_d
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
By Shelley Grieshop
Algae vapor not harmful at distance
Stench of Grand Lake part of bigger issue
  The awful smell emitted from the algae in the lake likely isn't harmful to humans unless they are directly exposed to the water by activities such as jet skiing and tubing, a state health official said.
Greg Stein of the Ohio Department of Health in Columbus is actively investigating the algae issues at Grand Lake to identify possible public health problems. He and his program chief, Dr. Bob Frey, recently released information about the byproduct, geosmin, produced when the blue-green algae dies.
"The human nose is extremely sensitive to geosmin and we are able to detect it at concentrations as low as 5 parts per trillion," Stein said.
The geosmin is an organic compound considered chemically not toxic in the air, so the blue-green (cyanobacterial) algae "does not appear to pose a vapor problem." The toxins produced are not "off-gassing" and can't be carried through the air into neighboring homes, he added.
However, there is a possibility the toxins can be aerosolized - a gaseous suspension of particles - by activities such as speed boating, jet skiing or tubing, which causes heavy wave or wake action, Stein said.
"In this case, the violent disturbance of the water can cause the water to be aerosolized and the people engaging in these activities can be exposed to the lake toxins in an aerosolized format," he said.
Stein also noted the smell alone can be uncomfortable for those who are sensitive to odors and can cause temporary headaches and nausea. The stench is more likely to affect sensitive populations including young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic health problems, he added.
"Because it can be detected at such small levels, the lake is likely to stink and the residents and businesses in close proximity to the lake will likely detect these odors . . ." he said.
Stein did not say how long the algae smell will linger.
Meanwhile, the decision to be near or on the lake is a personal one.
"Each individual needs to determine if they believe their health is being impacted by foul odors and consider their options to reduce their exposures," he said.
Additional online stories for this date
Print and E-Edition only stories for this date
• Faber: Lake fix will take unity, legislation, funds
• Celina's drinking water safe, despite warning about source
• St. Marys board responds to former teacher's lawsuit
• Village expects government funds for projects
• New job service gets grant
• Cavaliers' Klenke blanks Redskins with one-hitter
• 'Riders earn rematch with Wildcats
• Mariners get blown out by the Joes
a_d
Thursday Night
66°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
20%
Friday
82°
Chance Thunderstorms
39%
Friday Night
65°
Chance Thunderstorms
41%
Saturday
80°
Chance Thunderstorms
53%
Saturday Night
65°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
23%
Sunday
83°
Mostly Cloudy
10%
Sunday Night
63°
Partly Cloudy
7%
Monday
84°
Mostly Sunny
8%
Monday Night
64°
Mostly Clear
11%
Tuesday
87°
Partly Sunny
14%
Tuesday Night
68°
Chance Thunderstorms
32%
3 Day
Extended
a_d
a_da_da_d
video_logoOnline Video
Tuesday, July 26
index pict
Boat fire on Grand Lake
Saturday, July 23
index pict
Celina Lake Festival Parade time-lapse
camera_logo Photo Albums
Saturday, July 23
index pict
Saturday, July 23
index pict
Friday, July 22
index pict