Cyanotoxins are an unfortunate consequences of harmful algal blooms in fresh water systems in both Canada and the United States. This report is a literature review of the state of ecological and epidemiological science of cyanobacterial toxins with an emphasis on its relevance to conditions in the Great Lakes. It builds on the initiatives and findings of federal, provincial and state agencies which face the common challenge of maintaining safe aquatic environments for recreation and safe drinking water. Recommendations in this report pertaining to public health protection generally apply to fresh water systems that are affected by eutrophication in both Canada and the Unites States, with relevance for similarly impacted global ecosystems.
June 24, 2015
Under Article 7.1 (k) of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the International Joint Commission has a responsibility for “providing to the Parties, in consultation with the Boards established under Article 8, a triennial “Assessment of Progress Report.”
The Commission has also requested advice on which, if any, of the Agreement Objectives should be identified as requiring in-depth assessment and/or topics for “other advice” to be included in the report. The Health Professionals Advisory Board has considered the question of indicators and Agreement Objectives, and has developed the topic areas with recommendations for consideration.
June 20, 2014
Recommended Human Health Indicators for Assessment of Progress on the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (pdf)
Executive Summary: "The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 2012 directs the governments of the United States and Canada to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes. The Agreement also specifies that the governments and International Joint Commission shall report to the public on the extent to which the Agreement’s objectives have been achieved. In order to report on progress, measures or indicators are needed. In response to a request by the IJC, the Health Professionals Advisory Board (HPAB) has engaged in a process to identify a small set of indicators that clearly link to the human health objectives of the GLWQA. While other reports will cover environmental indicators, the focus of this report is identifying and defining potential human health indicators that may reflect progress towards protecting and restoring the waters of the Great Lakes. It also presents the reasoning behind selecting and defining the indicators that could potentially be used by the Commission and the Parties to report on progress towards achieving the human health objectives of the Agreement ..."
Public comments are now closed. Archived comments are below.
Robert Burlage (Concordia University)
Bill Taylor (University of Waterloo)
Sam Dorevitch (UIC School of Public Health Institute for Environmental Science and Policy)
Bob Hecky (University of Minnesota-Duluth; IJC SAB Science Priority Committee)
Michael Murray (IJC Water Quality Board, National Wildlife Federation).
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