Helsinki officials warn beach goers over blue-green algae

Helsinki City’s environment unit is warning beach goers to exercise caution following sightings of blue-green algae near beaches in Vantaa. Although the unseasonably cold weather has slowed algae growth, it has begun to show up in many parts of southern Finland…

Helsinki City’s Environment Centre says blue-green algae growths were detected at beaches in Pikkukoski, Pakila and Tapaninvainio this week.  Authorities say that samples taken from Pikkukoski show signs of toxicity.

Not all algae are toxic, but in cases where the blooms produce toxic chemicals, pets and people may be at risk of illness, either from prolonged exposure to the skin or from ingesting water where the algae is present.

Symptoms from external contact include skin rashes and blisters. More severe cases can include mouth ulcers, ulcers inside the nose, eye and/or ear irritation and blistering of the lips. Ingestion can lead to headaches, nausea, muscular pains, central abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, with severe cases resulting in seizures, liver failure or respiratory arrest.

Algae beaches in Uusimaa

The Finnish Environment Institute Syke’s algae monitoring unit said the first sightings of abundant algal growths were made in Sipoo Wednesday. However algae has not yet been detected in the open sea.

Small growths were also observed previously in Rusutjärvi in Tuusula, a Helsinki suburb.

Members of the public can visit the Syke website for algae updates in Finnish.


Photo caption: Environment officials are warning beach lovers in the capital area to be on the alert for blue-green algae. Image: Yle

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