EPA Issues Health Advisory for Cyanotoxins

Jun 1

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6/1/2015 12:00 AM  RssIcon

Duck Algae

Weck Laboratories can analyze for the following Algal Toxins by LCMSMS:

  • Microcystin-LR
  • Microcystin-RR
  • Microcystin-YR
  • Microcystin-LA
  • Anatoxin-A
  • Cylindrospermopsin
  • Saxitoxin
  • Neosaxitoxin
  • Domoic Acid 

On June 17th, 2015, EPA issued a health advisory for microcystins and cylindrospermopsin. Health advisories are non-regulatory levels of potential concern, below which there are expected to be no health impacts. The document identifies two different levels for each of those cyanotoxins, one for children under six and a separate, somewhat higher level for older children and adults. In a separate document titled Recommendations for Public Water Systems to Manage Cyanotoxins in Drinking Water, EPA also provides recommendations to utilities on monitoring, treatment, and several other issues. Among them are recommendations for public notification procedures for exceedances of advisory thresholds, including circumstances in which EPA recommends that water utilities issue "Do Not Drink / Do Not Boil" orders.

Last month via conference call and again last week at ACE15, the AWWA Water Utility Council discussed this issue and identified a number of significant concerns. These issues were the subject of a series of meetings between council members, AWWA staff and EPA staff. Those concerns were summarized in a letter to EPA on June 15. Also, while the health advisories were being released, AWWA's Contaminant Candidate List Advisory Group was meeting in AWWA's Government Affairs Office, helping to craft future actions on cyanotoxins.

If you have not yet taken advantage of it, a Water Utility Manager's Guide to Cyanotoxins, released earlier this year by AWWA and the Water Research Foundation is available for free download on the AWWA website.

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