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Never before in the history of tracking red tide in Florida have so many manatees died as a result of exposure. Despite this concerning fact, 'experts' are towing the party line that there are no human harms associated with long-term exposure. Are they serious?
ABC7 interviewed Mote Marine Laboratory's senior scientist Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick on Feb. 27th about whether there are any long-term effects of red tide on humans, to which she responded "I don't think there's any evidence yet that we have to worry about long-term exposure."
Really? What kind of evidence does Dr. Kirkpatrick think is lacking?
Is Dr. Kirkpatrick pointing to a lack of large-scale, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human studies showing that chronic "low-dose" red tide exposure is anything but harmless? Because if this the standard of proof she requires in order to make a determination about possible health risks to an already exposed public, we shall never know the truth, as such a study is not only unethical to perform, but would be too expensive to attract the necessary funding. In the meantime, following Dr. Kirkpatrick's disregard for any reasonable sense of caution, you can view tourists and locals eating red tide affected shellfish and swimming in the Gulf, unaware that anything could be wrong or unhealthy with these routine behaviors.
With a record 174 manatees confirmed dead from red tide this year, it is hard to understand how Dr. Kirkpatrick or the institution she represents can say that humans are immune to red tide's long-term toxic effects. It doesn't take a Doctorate (or even a grammar school education) in biology to know that humans are mammals as well. If mammals are dying in plain sight from red tide in numbers far beyond any previously recorded year, perhaps it is not such a good idea for families, and especially their children, to be swimming in, or eating from, affected areas. Or to pretend like aerosolized brevetoxins (with a toxicity confirmed to be in the same range as cyanide and which can travel on the wind miles inshore) 'are nothing to worry about' in the long term.
Will it take large-scale population studies (epidemiological evidence) performed well into the future that folks living close to chronically affected areas, who were told not to exercise caution, are found to have increased risk of serious illness, or even higher mortality?
The reality is that there does exist evidence pointing to possible long-term effects of red tide exposure, and you can view the peer-reviewed and published study abstracts on our Red Tide toxicity page.
We are three months into 2013 and already the 1996 record of 151 manatees dead from Red Tide has been surpassed. [see yearly record] Should we continue to keep our heads buried in the proverbial sand of the Gulf of Mexico beaches, taking on faith the word of some would-be higher scientific authority such as Mote Marine Laboratory who represents a politically popular, but absolutely irresponsible perspective (Our beaches are fine! Buy a house or visit us soon!)?
Please read our in-depth expose on the truth about the manmade causes of red tide and its profound adverse health effects on exposed populations and share it widely: The Truth About Red Tide's Manmade Causes and Health Effects