400,000 Ohio residents urged not to drink the water after dangerous toxins found

The mayor of Toledo, Ohio declared a state of emergency after water in in the Collin Parks water treatment plant revealed the presence of a dangerous toxin, The Toledo Blade reports.

At a news conference, officials with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department said that the level of microcystin -- a cyanotoxin produced by blue-green algae that can cause symptoms ranging from rash to liver failure -- is currently at 2.5 parts-per-million, more than twice the allowable level.

Health officials suspect that the reason behind the high levels of microcystin are algal blooms in the lakes that provide water to the Collins Park facility, but need to perform tests to verify that the algal blooms in those lakes is responsible.

The city issued an advisory last night on Facebook urging the 400,000 affected residents not to drink the water:

Restaurants and food service facilities that cannot guarantee that no tap water will be consumed on the premises were asked by the city to shutter their doors temporarily. Schools in the area cancelled athletic practices and other related activities in the wake of the advisory.

Most grocery stores and convenience stores in the area are reporting that they are sold out of bottled water. An employee at a Kroger grocery store in the affected area told The Blade that her store had sold out of water by 3:30 a.m.

“It got really busy about a half-hour after the city put out the notice,” she said. “Ever since then, it’s been nonstop at all six self-checkout stations we have going.”

["Little boy drinking water from a fountain" on Shutterstock]