CDC postpones toxic algae health study in Indiantown, Clewiston

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on July 22 will operate an Indiantown test site for its study examining the health effects of inhaling blue-green algae toxins.

The CDC postponed the data collection, initially scheduled for July 15, by one week because no volunteers had enrolled, said Florida Atlantic University nursing professor Shirley Gordon, who’s helping to lead the study. 

That’s despite the CDC paying up to $300 for volunteering, depending on the research activities completed each day, Gordon said.

Scroll down for more information on what participating entails.

The CDC is seeking Treasure Coast volunteers to participate in the $1.6 million study to determine whether toxins from cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae, can enter our bodies through the air we breathe.

A separate test site in Clewiston received only three volunteers, so that event also was postponed to July 22 to give more time for outreach and interested participants to sign up, Gordon said. The town of 8,000 residents lies just southwest of Lake O.

Overall, 20 people are enrolled in a study meant for 150 people, and 67 people had contacted researchers interested in participating, according to Gordon. 

There’s likely a number of reasons for the low turnout so far, Gordon said. The research requires participation five separate times over the course of an algal bloom, leaving some busy people wary to sign up.

Another likely barrier is outreach and getting the word out. That’s why Gordon will join fellow FAU nursing professor Kathi Harvey Wednesday to distribute fliers advertising the study at businesses and organizations in both Indiantown and Clewiston, she said. 

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