In a June 13th press release, Congressman Vern Buchanan’s office announced the passage of an amendment sponsored by the Congressman to study the impact of red tide on human health. The House amendment was attached to a government spending bill that was expected to pass shortly.
Red tide or Harmful algal blooms, (HABS), occur when colonies of algae—simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater—grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects. One of the best known HABS occurs on Florida’s Gulf Coast waters. These blooms produces toxins that kill fish, are harmful to mammals and make shellfish dangerous to eat. The toxins may make the surrounding air difficult to breath leading to respiratory problems.
Buchanan’s amendment instructs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to designate $6.25 million to research the long-term health effects of red tide and other Harmful Algal Blooms.
“Scientists and researchers still do not know the full extent of red tide’s harmful effects on our health,” Buchanan said. “That has to change and my measure seeks to advance this important research.”