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Return to Human Disturbances to Estuaries - Toxic Substances

Toxic substances that find their way into estuaries cause severe harm not only to the native plant and animal species that live there, but also to people who may consume them. People who eat plants or animals contaminated with high levels of toxic substances can contract many terrible diseases, including cancer. In addition to being directly harmful to plants, animals, and people, toxic substances can cause great economic damage to communities that depend on healthy recreational and commercial fisheries for their livelihoods. Toxic pollutants may originate many miles away and be transported by groundwater or sediments to the estuaries where they are eventually found. (Photo: Stanne/NYSDEC)

Eutrophication triggers toxic algal blooms

 

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