Exposure to toxic blue-green algae can cause liver, skin and neurological damage to humans and animals.
A new study released today by the University of Michigan found that wave action can cause harmful toxins in the slimy algae to become airborne.
It also revealed that when toxins were higher in the water, they were higher in the air.
The study began on Lake Erie and Lake Michigan shortly after toxic blue-green algae shut down the drinking water supplies to the city of Toledo, Ohio, for several days in early August 2014.
"Our hypothesis is that toxins from this blue-green algae might be getting into the air, in which case, people might be subjected to inhalation exposure, serving as a previously unrecognized health risk beyond drinking water contamination," said Kerry Pratt, a University of Michigan researcher.