The U.S. Freshwater Harmful Algal Bloom Research & Control Act of 2009

H. Kenneth Hudnell1 and Wayne Carmichael2

1 SolarBee, Inc., & The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Institute for the Environment, 105 Serrano Way, Chapel Hill, NC 27517, 919-932-7229, kenhud@SolarBee.com

2 Professor Emeritus, Wright State University, 3640 Colonel Glen Highway, Dayton, Ohio 45435, 503-755-0711, wayne.carmichael@wright.edu

U.S. Congressional legislation is needed to establish a National Freshwater Harmful Algal Bloom (FHAB) Research Plan. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has purview over all U.S. freshwater bodies, but has not made regulatory determinations or established Federal policy due to FHAB data deficiencies. A clear Congressional directive, the proposed Freshwater Harmful Algal Bloom Act of 2009 (FHAB Act), is needed to establish a National FHAB Research Plan for obtaining FHAB data.

The EPA listed Microcystins, Cylindrospermopsin and Anatoxin-a as highest priority cyanotoxins, and Saxitoxin and Anatoxin-a(s) as medium to high priority. Research is needed to assess the frequency and concentrations with which these cyanotoxins occur in recreational and finished drinking waters. Health research is needed to obtain cyanotoxin dose-response data for establishing Reference Doses (ingested compounds), Reference Concentrations (inhaled compounds) and cancer assessments. Risk management research is needed to assess the efficacy and sustainability of ecological and chemical approaches to FHAB control.

Congress was informed of the need for the FHAB Act through testimony given in July 2008. The FHAB Act is modeled after the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (1998, 2004) that directed the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish a research plan for coastal HABs. FHAB Act funds would be administered through the three competitive, research grant programs established by NOAA. An informal coalition is petitioning House and Senate committees to demonstrate the public support needed to advance the FHAB Act and protect our Nation’s human health, aquatic ecosystems and economy.

Oral presentation is requested