(ALERT: Stay out of the water in Grand Lake until officials determine it’s entirely safe. Don’t think the governor’s response to the issue means the water is safe. Find some safe water in Oklahoma this hot, holiday weekend.)
Gov. Mary Fallin has urged people to visit the Grand Lake area this weekend even though it appears the lake is infested with potentially toxic, high levels of blue-green algae, which can cause illness in people who come in contact with it.
The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) has warned people to refrain from coming into contact with water in the lake, which is located in northeastern Oklahoma. The agency said algae in increased levels has been found throughout the lake, and it’s the worst in state history, according to media reports.
Let’s be clear: Fallin didn’t urge people to swim in the water and risk their health. Her concern is about money, according to media reports, which point out she’s worried the tourist industry around the lake could suffer economically this holiday weekend if people don’t show up.
She apparently told the Associated Press: “There are still a lot of great things to do at the lake, even though there are concerns about the quality of the water.”
But it’s irresponsible for the leading political leader in the state to urge people to even go near a lake that could be poisonous. It increases the number of people at risk for possible illness, and it opens up the real possibility that some people might think that it’s actually okay to get into the water.
The governor should place the safety of her state’s residents first and foremost. Also, if people get sick at the lake it will do much more economic damage overall to the Grand Lake area and the state than one bad weekend for some businesses.
A responsible leader would have simply allowed lake experts to determine the announcements about the lake or simply told people to stay out of the water. Why should anyone get sick so a lake bait shop or a local restaurant can make some good bucks this weekend?
Even U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe has weighed in on the matter, saying he’s sure he got sick by getting in Grand Lake water recently.
Here’s the information you need to know: Tests have shown current toxins in the lake are 18 times higher than a maximum level determined by the World Health Organization.
This is from the California Department of Public Health:
Exposure to blue-green algae can cause rashes, skin and eye irritation, allergic reactions, gastrointestinal upset, and other effects. At high levels, exposure can result in serious illness or death.
ALERT: Stay out of the water in Grand Lake until officials determine it’s entirely safe. Don’t think the governor’s response to the issue means the water is safe. Find some safe water in Oklahoma this hot, holiday weekend.