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Look out for toxic, stinky blue-green algae on Minnesota lakes

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State environmental officials are urging people to take special care with pets and small children if they plan to go swimming in Minnesota lakes this weekend.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says that conditions are ideal for blue-green algae blooms, particularly in shallow lakes in southern and western Minnesota.

People should look for surface scum near the shoreline that looks like oil paint and has a musty odor, the MPCA's Pat Anderson, who supervises the agency's lakes and streams monitoring unit, tells MPR.

KSTP-TV reports humans are rarely affected by toxic algae but effects can include irritation of skin, eyes and nasal passages, as well as nausea and vomiting. Extreme cases can cause paralysis and respiratory failure.

Blue-green algae have been blamed in the past for dog deaths. The MPCA has received several reports of blue-green algae recently, Anderson said, but no pet deaths have been reported so far, but there have been localized fish kills.

Blue-green algae blooms will continue to form if the hot, dry weather continues, reports MPR. The algae feed off of phosphorus, which is prevalent in many Minnesota lakes.

Blue-green algae blooms will continue to form if the hot, dry weather continues. The algae feed off of phosphorus, which is prevalent in many Minnesota lakes.

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