Friday, November 9, 2007

Mississippi Red Tide, They Say

Again in yesterday's paper, an interesting article. For many, many years, I was blissfully unaware of Red Tide. And my first few exposures resulted in a few dry coughs, easily handled by leaving the beach. For the blessedly uninitiated, Red Tide is what we call an algal bloom that drifts into the beach releasing an airborne toxin, a neurotoxin, I might add.

Usually, it lasts like a week, and the most common signs are coughing and dead fish washing up on the beach. But then there was the year Red Tide wouldn't go away. I was working, just up from the bay, and every afternoon like clockwork my nose would stuff up and my teeth would hurt. So far, they haven't really done studies of how prolonged exposure affects healthy individuals. But when they finally get around to it, I suspect it will be a lot worse than has been considered the case. This stuff kills manatees.

Anyway, you might say I'm interested in the topic. The article described the results of a NOAA study which pegs run-off from the nutrient laden Mississippi River as the culprit in outbreaks. A Florida official thinks the causes are closer to home. And I think, they need to figure this out soon, before I have to break out the dust mask again. Read it here.

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