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Toxic Algae Caused a State of Emergency in the US

Greg Lovett / AP

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in counties on the state's Atlantic coast last week over expansive algae blooms in the St. Lucie River, USA Today reports.

The smelly, disgusting blue-green algae blooms plaguing the St. Lucie River andIndian River Lagoon are the result of discharges flowing out of Lake Okeechobee in southeast Florida.

Toxic algae can cause nausea and vomiting if ingested, and rash or hay fever symptoms if touched or inhaled. Drinking water with the toxins can cause long-term liver disease. Recent research suggests another toxin in blue-green algae can trigger neurological diseases such as Parkinson's diseaseAlzheimer's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease.

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