By: Tyler Treadway, Treasure Coast Newspapers
A blue-green algae bloom in the St. Lucie River estuary contains toxins 10 times the level considered hazardous.
The Aug. 2 sample taken at Central Marine on the river's north shore in Stuart contained the toxin microcystin at a rate of 110 parts per billion, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The World Health Organization considers levels above 10 parts per billion to be hazardous in recreational contact.
Another sample taken the same day in the South Fork of the St. Lucie River at Veterans Memorial Bridge had a microcystin level of 30 parts per billion.
The only bloom with a higher toxicity so far this year was sampled July 5 at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam, the conduit for Lake Okeechobee discharges to the St. Lucie River. That sample contained microcystin at a level of 154.38 parts per billion.
Microcystin, a common toxin produced by blue-green algae, can cause nausea and vomiting if ingested and rash or hay fever symptoms if touched or inhaled. Drinking water with the toxins can cause long-term liver disease.
Other long-term effects, including neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, are suspected…