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Algae Blooms. Bacteria & Dangerous Products Sending Floridians to the Emergency Room This Summer


There have been a number of concerns of late involving Floridians being significantly harmed by what many would label a failure of our state and federal agencies to keep the environment safe (and products) for human use, as we discuss below.

Sewage Spills

In late July, one of the pipes abandoned and replaced almost 40 years ago (but which remained active) ruptured, spewing 870,000 gallons of sewage into Florida’s Indian River Lagoon and into private residential yards. The lagoon is one of the country’s most biologically diverse waterways, but sewage spills and pollution contribute to algae blooms that not only kill off marine life, but also can harm people.

Florida Red Tide Algae Blooms & Other Bacteria Making People Sick & Killing Others

Also in late July, exposure to toxic algae and historic red tides sent more than 15 people in Florida to the emergency room after visiting the St. Lucie River. As a result, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Glades, Henry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie counties. The National Weather Service also recently reported red tide in Collier and Sarasota counties.

This year’s algae blooms have not only killed scores of marine animals, but also made many sick and killed others. The illnesses are due to the presence of cyanobacteria, which can cause allergy-like symptoms, eye irritation, nausea, and vomiting. Drinking the toxin in water can also cause long-term liver disease.

The algae blooms have spread as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases water from Lake Okeechobee in order to keep the lake levels down. Although releases were suspended, they resumed on Monday, July 30.

One three-year-old is still recovering after her birthday trip to the Key Biscayne beach caused a bacterial infection related to the presence of fecal bacteria in Miami-Dade County, Crandon Beach North and South, and Golden Beach. Still, there were no warning signs posted. The little girl is expected to suffer scarring all over her face and hands as a result.

Dragon’s Breath Cereal

Just recently, a Florida boy was sent to the hospital after eating the liquid nitrogen snack known as “Dragon’s Breath,” which allegedly tastes like Kellogg’s Fruit Loops but, once ingested, produces vapors that leave a consumer’s mouth and nose “smoky, like dragon’s breath” due to the temperature of the product (a negative 320 degrees) and the presence of nitrogen. The boy rushed to the hospital suffered from mild asthma and started having trouble breathing right after he consumed the product. According to experts, regardless of whether a consumer has asthma, the product can still be irritating and inflammatory to the airway, esophagus, and stomach, and exposure to nitrogen in general can cause serious burns, as occurred to another child who recently handled the dessert.

Florida Negligence Attorneys

If you or a loved one is sick or otherwise injured due to negligence by a state or federal agency, or a related nuisance, contact our personal injury attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan today to find out how we can help.

For more information and in depth analysis, please contact Attorney Ken Ronan at and Case Manager Richard Bagdasarian at


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