Toxic warning at Earlswood Lakes

Visitors to Earlswood Lakes have been warned about a toxic health threat.
The danger comes from blue-green algae which has formed on the surface of the lakes.

The seaweed-like plant – biological name cyanophyta – grows by photosynthesis and spreads extensively on water during hot temperatures.
The health threat, to humans and animals, comes from dipping into or even just touching the water surrounding the algae.It produces toxins, called cyanotoxins, which can cause stomach upsets – and, in extreme cases, serious liver damage and a form of motor neurone disease. Dogs have died from being covered in the algal scum.

The Canal & River Trust is worried that children and youths may plunge into the water to cool off at Earlswood Lakes – even though swimming is prohibited.

But there is also concern for off-the-lead dogs who decide to go for a dip.

The Canal & River Trust has posted notices at Earlswood Lakes warning of the ‘health hazard’.

Posters state: “High concentrations of potentially toxic blue-green algae have been found in this water.

“Swallowing the water or algal scum can cause stomach upsets or more serious health effects. Contact with the water or with algal scum can also cause skin or eye problems.

“It is a sensible precaution for you, your children and your animals to avoid contact with the scum or the water close to it.”

The Canal & River Trust, which took over responsibility for canals, rivers and lakes from British Waterways in 2012, said there were no reports of major problems with the algae at other locations in the Midlands.

A spokeswoman said: “The algae appears every year at Earlswood Lakes but this year has been particularly bad due to the warm weather and prolonged sunshine which promotes the its growth.

“Earlswood Lakes is a great place for people to go to see the varied wildlife and heritage it offers. We want people to continue to visit to enjoy the lovely waterside setting but we are asking them to be aware of the current outbreak of the algae in the water.

“It is naturally occurring at this time of year but can be harmful to your skin.

“We are also asking people to be extra careful. If they, or their pets, come into contact with the affected water, they should wash all exposed skin with clean water, particularly before eating or drinking.

“If they are In any doubt about their welfare, after contact with algae, they should seek medical advice.”

Earlswood Lakes consist of three expanses of water – Windmill Pool, Engine Pool and Terry’s Pool.

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