HEALTH 5,000mile wide Sargassum seaweed blob targeting Florida's coast as health hazard.


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Sargassum seaweed blob targeting Florida's coast as health hazard​

by Cara Murez, HealthDay Reporter
5/26/2023 · 1:17 PM PDT

Sargassum seaweed blob targeting Florida's coast as health hazard

Sargassum can decompose in one of several ways. It can release ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, which is toxic. Photo courtesy of HealthDay
Be cautious when heading to Florida's beaches this summer, an expert warned, as a 5,000-mile floating mass of sargassum seaweed has begun washing up on the state's shores.

It can be low risk in some instances, but it also has the potential for triggering serious respiratory health issues.
"The sargassum itself is not dangerous. It can have different jellyfish and sea creatures in it that could be a source of sting," said Dr. Sarah Shafer, medical toxicologist and an assistant professor in the department of emergency medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
However, "once the sargassum washes up on the beach, in 48 hours it will start to break down and lose toxic gasses. As it decomposes, we have to worry about potential exposure to humans."
Sargassum can decompose in one of several ways. It can release ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, which is toxic, she explained in a college news release.
Even at low levels, hydrogen sulfide can produce the smell of rotten eggs. Yet when the gas reaches a certain level, humans can become "nose-blind" and not smell it.
"At low levels, it smells like rotten eggs in the air. This happens in natural hot springs, like at Yellowstone. It can cause some irritant effects," Shafer said. "In high levels, it can cause sudden death."

This can be a concern in closed-off places where the gas is highly concentrated, such as in a sewer.
A chemical asphyxiant, it can interfere with how cells function, Shafer noted.
For beach seaweed, asphyxiation is not a concern because it's not closed off. Still, she recommended paying attention to different smells when around seaweed this summer.
Look for the smell of ammonia or rotten eggs, irritated eyes, nausea and soft tissue irritation if you touch a piece of seaweed with a higher concentration of hydrogen sulfide.
Those most at risk are people who have asthma or another respiratory condition or live near the beach.
Anyone with respiratory concerns should leave the area if they smell rotten eggs, Shafer advised.

"If you don't feel good, get away from it," she said. "If there is enough sargassum that's off-gassing that much, you won't want to be there anyway."
More information
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has more on sargassum seaweed.
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Knuckle Dragger
We never got much in the gulf last year, at least not off the upper Texas coast.

Very few kingfish, was an odd year.


Saved, to glorify God.
Maybe a hurricane can drive it NORTH to WA DC and NEW YORK?
A better, more appropriate place for it.


Veteran Member
The Sargasso Sea is a real thing. Me, my Mom, and little brother took a Spanish freight ship from Bilbao Spain, to Houston, Tx. It took 18 frigging days to cross by way of an overnight stop in Tenerife, Canary Islands.

Before we got to off the coast of Florida, but still way out in the Atlantic, there were huge mats of Sea weed. Lots of Portuguese Man o war jelly fish too. My Parents were so weird.

Kris Gandillon

The Other Curmudgeon
Gulf coast or Atlantic?
Uh, the Gulf is only 810 miles at its widest point.

The Atlantic is only 3,000 miles wide at its widest point.

I am having trouble believing this “5,000 mile wide” description.

Did someone add a zero?

ETA: has all of the earmarks of a click-bait, fake story, ad-driven, revenue generating website. It makes Mike Adams look like a rookie!

ETA2: The largest previous sargassum bloom occurred in 2018 and extended about 1,000 miles from the eastern Caribbean islands to the Gulf of Mexico.

Still trying to understand where you fit a 5,000 mile bloom headed for Florida. This one reporter for this semi-flaky, ad-infested health day website is the only one mentioning a specific size at this time. Typical, for click-bait stories. Plausible deniability. Oops, we were given wrong information. But thanks for all the web traffic checking out the story! Ca-Ching.
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Knuckle Dragger
Salad (sargassum) is an important part of the marine ecosystem.

The best fishing is along the weedlines.

They provide cover for bait, that attracts other species, etc.

Without it, things really go dead in the open ocean environments....think desert or forest.

It only becomes a problem when it intrudes on peoples beaches.