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Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) made the news recently. It was not for almost crashing a plane or saying something outrageous about climate change. The senator got sick from swimming in Grand Lake, located in northeastern Oklahoma.
Grand Lake, as well as three other lakes in northeastern Oklahoma are experiencing an unprecedented outbreak of blue-green algae blooms. Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, during a bloom of the magnitude Oklahoma is experiencing, can be toxic.
People and pets who come in contact with blue-green algae infested waters are at risk of rashes, respiratory illnesses, and nausea. A person or pet exposed to high levels of the toxic brew could experience damage to their kidneys, as well.
The causes for the massive blooms are high temperatures, high levels of nitrogen and other nutrients in the water, and lack of rain. For the last month temperatures have reached into 100 plus territory most days, which is much hotter than what is normal for this time of year. The low 90’s feel cool in comparison. The high today is projected to be 106.
If this unusual set of circumstances has anything to do with climate change and melting polar ice caps putting more moisture in the atmosphere, upsetting weather patterns, etc., the irony of Senator Inhofe getting sick as a result is obvious.
Senators and normal human beings alike are advised to stay out of the infected lakes until further notice.