Aerosolized red tide toxins (brevetoxins) and asthma: Continued health effects after 1h beach exposure

Barbara Kirkpatrick, Lora E. Fleming, Judy A. Bean, Kate Nierenberg, Lorraine C. Backer, Yung Sung Cheng, Richard Pierce, Andrew Reich, Jerome Naar, Adam Wanner, William M. Abraham, Yue Zhou, Julie Hollenbeck, Daniel G. Baden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Blooms of the toxic dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis, produce potent neurotoxins in marine aerosols. Recent studies have demonstrated acute changes in both symptoms and pulmonary function in asthmatics after only 1. h of beach exposure to these aerosols. This study investigated if there were latent and/or sustained effects in asthmatics in the days following the initial beach exposure during periods with and without an active Florida red tide. Symptom data and spirometry data were collected before and after 1. h of beach exposure. Subjects kept daily symptom diaries and measured their peak flow each morning for 5 days following beach exposure. During non-exposure periods, there were no significant changes in symptoms or pulmonary function either acutely or over 5 days of follow-up. After the beach exposure during an active Florida red tide, subjects had elevated mean symptoms which did not return to the pre-exposure baseline for at least 4 days. The peak flow measurements decreased after the initial beach exposure, decreased further within 24. h, and continued to be suppressed even after 5 days. Asthmatics may continue to have increased symptoms and delayed respiratory function suppression for several days after 1. h of exposure to the Florida red tide toxin aerosols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-143
Number of pages6
JournalHarmful Algae
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Coastal
  • Harmful algal blooms (HABs)
  • Inhalation toxicity
  • Karenia brevis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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