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Toxic cyanobacteria spreading at multiple Tallinn beaches

Cyanobacteria derive their name from their blue-green color. Picture is illustrative.
Cyanobacteria derive their name from their blue-green color. Picture is illustrative. Source: (Põhja-Tallinna linnaosa/Facebook)

Tests this week have confirmed that toxic cyanobacteria is spreading at a number of popular beaches in across Tallinn.

Analyses conducted by the Estonian Marine Institute indicated that the concentration of cyanobacteria was highest at Pirita Beach, but also exceeded permitted levels at Pikakari, Kakumäe and Stroomi Beach as well.

These beaches are currently flying yellow flags, indicating that swimming there is at one's own risk.

Every swimmer can visually assess the situation for themselves before heading into the water. If the water is visibly yellowish-greenish and the shore is covered in thick greenish debris that smells of mold, it is likely cyanobacteria.

The persistence of the toxic blooms at the beach will depend on weather conditions as well as wind direction.

Symptoms of cyanobacteria poisoning can resemble those of the flu and may include irritation of the skin and eyes as well as diarrhea, among others.

Water containing some degree of cyanobactera may be swum in, but only if the swimmer is not prone to allergic reactions and takes care not to swallow any of the affected water. It is not recommended to allow small children to swim in water with cyanobacteria present in it, as only a small amount of the toxic water is enough to cause health issues in children.

Pets should likewise be kept away from water with a confirmed presence of cyanobacteria, as a dog for example can end up poisoned after licking its coat clean following a swim.

Cyanobacteria do not break down in boiling water, due to which water containing the toxic bacteria should not be used in any way.

Following a swim in water with cyanobacteria present, swimmers should immediately rinse themselves with clean water and change out of their swimsuits.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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