Blue Green Algae Flyer

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					If you see scum near your private water intake, or if
your tap water has an unusual colour or odour, do
not use that water for:

- washing yourself;

                                                                                                     This paper contains at least 30% post-consumer fibers.
- brushing your teeth;
- watering your vegetable garden (if this is unavoid
  able, water the base of plants rather than the stem
  or leaves).

You may wash dishes or other objects, as long as you
rinse them with uncontaminated water and dry them

Water from a lake, river, or stream must never be in-
gested if it has not been treated (boiled, disinfec-
ted, etc.) Note that certain household water
treatment systems, even if uncertified, can eliminate
blue-green algae when properly installed and main-

If your tap water comes from a water system, you
may consume and use it normally unless otherwise

If your water comes from a private well, it is unlikely
to contain blue-green algae. However, a well near a
body of water and subject to infiltration may be con-                    For more information
taminated by blue-green algae if present in the body
                                                                                 By telephone
of water. In such a case, take the precautions listed
                                                            Québec City region: 418-644-4545
above regarding the use of potable water.                     Montréal region: 514-644-4545
                                                                         Elsewhere in Québec:
                                                                  1-877-644-4545 (toll-free)
Blue-green algae contamination can last for several                            On the Internet
weeks and occur more than once a year. Advisories                    
therefore vary greatly in duration.
                                                                      Version française diponible.
When in doubt, it is important that you contact public
authorities to be sure of your water quality. If a body
of water is infested, the public will be informed without
   Blue-Green Algae
               and Health
   Blue-green algae, known to scientists as cyanobacteria, are microorganisms that grow in bodies
   of fresh or salt water. These ancient creatures play an essential role in the ecological balance of
   various aquatic habitats.

   However, sometimes these algae begin to multiply excessively, producing large quantities of
   toxins that can pose a health hazard. Touching or ingesting water contaminated by blue-green
   algae or their toxins can cause health problems.

PROTECT YOUR HEALTH                                       MAIN SYMPTOMS
To avoid contact with blue-green algae toxins, one        In cases of ingestion:
must first know where they are.                           • stomach pains
                                                          • vomiting
When blue-green algae are growing quickly and             • diarrhea
abundantly, they form green or turquoise expanses         • headaches
called algal blooms. An algal bloom resembles a paint     • fever
spill or a “soup” of particles resembling broccoli
buds, peas, or fine grass clippings. They sometimes
leave a deposit of viscous green or turquoise scum on                                                            WHAT SHOULD I DO IF
the shore. Some algal blooms are reddish, but this is                                                            BLUE-GREEN ALGAE ARE PRESENT?
rare in Québec.                                                                                                  When blue-green algae are confirmed by public au-
                                                                                                                 thorities or if you believe that a body of water is
WHAT ARE THE HAZARDS?                                                                                            contaminated, do not use that water for:
Health effects are caused by ingesting water contam-      IN CASES OF CONTACT:
                                                                                                                 - drinking or making ice;
inated by toxins, but also through direct contact with    • skin irritation
                                                                                                                 - washing, preparing, or cooking food (boiling does
blue-green algae, such as while bathing or playing        • eye irritation
                                                                                                                   not eliminate the toxins);
water sports. Children are at particular risk of severe   • sore throat
                                                                                                                 - bathing or participating in water sports where the
disease if they ingest toxins in the water or scum.
                                                                                                                   water is green or spotted with scum (wetsuits will
                                                          WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I DEVELOP                            not protect your skin);
                                                          SYMPTOMS?                                              - filling your pool;
                                                          If you or someone you know should develop these
                                                                                                                 - washing pets or offering to pets as drinking water.
                                                          symptoms after drinking or touching contaminated
                                                          water, contact your region’s Info Santé service or a   Fish and other aquatic species from an affected area
                                                          physician immediately.                                 may be eaten in moderation, but their internal or-
                                                                                                                 gans must not be eaten.