VIDEO: Tools for Addressing the Risks of Cyanotoxins in Drinking Water

U.S. EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking water recently released a video that provides an overview of available tools to support proactive planning for cyanotoxin management in drinking water; watch the video here.

Many thanks to Dr. Lesley D’Anglada, US EPA, Editor of the Freshwater HABs Newsletter  for sharing this information.


Do not drink the tap water ! City of Salem, Oregon, May 29.

The City of Salem, Oregon USA, has issued a drinking water advisory on May 29, related to the presence of cylindrospermopsin and microcystin in the water supplies. The cyanotoxins originate from the Detroit Reservoir that is used as source.

The advisory concerns infants, young children and other vulnerable individuals, stating that “children under the age of six, people with compromised immune systems, people receiving dialysis treatment, people with pre-existing liver conditions, pets, pregnant women or nursing mothers, or other sensitive populations should follow this advisory. At this time, people not on this list may continue to drink the water unless additional messaging is received.”

Updates of the advisory will follow on .


Uptake and accumulation of MC-LR based on exposure through drinking water: An animal model assessing the human health risk

From the abstract of a recent paper by Greer et al. in Scientific Reports:

To understand the uptake and processing of MC-LR in humans, the pig was chosen as an animal model. This was assessed by repeated exposure for 13 weeks of eight animals dosed daily with MC-LR at 0.04 µg/kg bw, repeated with six animals over five weeks at a dose 50 times higher at 2 µg/kg bw. An analytical method was developed for MC-LR in porcine serum and also to analyse levels of free MC-LR in harvested porcine tissues, with Lemieux Oxidation employed to determine bound MC-LR in these tissues. MC-LR was not detected in the serum of treated animals from either experiment but free MC-LR was observed in the large intestine and kidney from two animals from the higher dosed group at levels of 1.4 and 1.9 µg/kg dry weight (dw) respectively. The results indicated 50% of higher dosed animals accumulated bound MC-LR in liver tissue, averaging 26.4 µg, approximately 1.1% of the dose administered. These results point to the potential uptake and accumulation of MC-LR in human liver tissue exposed chronically to sub-acute doses.”


Brett Greer, Julie P. Meneely & Christopher T. Elliott (2018). Uptake and accumulation of Microcystin-LR based on exposure through drinking water: An animal model assessing the human health risk. Scietific Reports 8, 4913. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-23312-7


Microcystin-LR included in the proposed revision of the Drinking Water Directive !

The European Commission has issued a proposal for a Directive on the Quality of Water Intended for Human Consumption. The proposal is a recast of Directive 98/83/EC, which was amended in 2003, 2009 and 2015.

Microcystin-LR is included in the proposal as a “Chemical Parameter”, with a parametric value of 1μg/L, along with other organic compounds that are added in the list (Bisphenol A, Haloacetic acids, Nonylphenol, PFAS). Performance criteria for determination of MC-LR are specified as 30% uncertainty at the parametric value, while methods should comply to the requirements of ISO 17025.

Inclusion of MC-LR in the proposed Directive is a result of increased occurrence of microcystins in European waters and beyond, as well as of increased awareness of the health risks and hazards associated with toxic cyanobacteria. CYANOCOST has significant contributions in this field, including two books on chemical analysis of cyanotoxins and molecular detection of toxigenic cyanobacteria and many joint parers on cyanotoxin research. Since 2012, CYANOCOST has also contributed in raising awareness of cyanotoxins in Europe; in this sense, the proposed Directive is rewarding of the vast amount of voluntarily work done within the Network and highlights the important societal impact of COST Actions.

The proposed Directive is under public consultation till 2 April 2018. You can download the related documents and submit your feedback here.



PhD position: Predicting the contribution of natural toxins to chemical mixtures in drinking water sources – NaToxAq, Fera Science Ltd., UK

NaToxAq is a multidisciplinary European Training Network (ETN) funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 722493 and comprises 21 leading universities, research institutions/agencies, and water enterprises in 7 European countries, which aim to expand insight on natural toxin identity, analysis, fate, dissipation, removal during water treatment, health effects, and risk assessment under the impact of climate change, to ensure safe and healthy waters for European consumers. Further information on the NaToxAq project and consortium partners can be found at:

Fera Science Ltd. (Fera) and the NaToxAq Marie-Curie Initial Training Network offers an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) position (PhD Student) – Topic: Natural Toxins and Drinking Water Quality – From Source to Tap.

The closing date for applications is 05 December 2017.

Details about this position can be found here.

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