Cyanotoxins in Air STudy: Assessing Health Effects

The National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is conducting a research study, Cyanotoxins in Air STudy (CAST). People who live or work on Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie River, Caloosahatchee River, or Cape Coral Canals in Florida, may be eligible to participate.

What are we studying?

You may have heard about cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae. These microorganisms grow in water. Some types of cyanobacteria make toxins that can make people sick. We are researching whether these toxins can get into our bodies through the air we breathe.

The purpose of the study is to find out if breathing these toxins can make people sick.

Who can participate?

If you are interested in participating in the study, please call 561-297-4631. To participate, you must meet certain criteria as listed below:

  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Live or work near a canal or river.
  • Spend at least 2 hours outside on most days.
  • Be willing and able to do study activities, including a lung function test.

What can participants expect?

Participants will meet with staff members from the study multiple times when a bloom is present (estimated between March and October).

Participants are expected to do these activities:

  • Complete symptom surveys.
  • Perform a simple lung function test (also called remote spirometry).
  • Provide nasal swabs.
  • Provide blood and urine specimens.
  • Record time spent outdoors.
  • Wear an air monitor.

Participants will receive incentives for volunteering their time.

To participate, please call 561-297-4631 or email

Study personnel will work with participants to record air quality measurements and collect water samples. Staff members will explain all details of participation to participants.

There is no cost to be in this study. We will provide incentives for participants who volunteer their time and will share the clinical results from the study.

COVID-19 Precautions

Please be assured that CDC will take all necessary steps to protect members of your community from COVID-19. The exposure assessment will be conducted following all state, local, and CDC guidelines in place at the time the exposure assessment is conducted. CDC team members will be monitored twice daily for fever and any COVID-19-related symptoms, and will wear surgical masks and gloves to ensure the protection of participants. Participants will be asked to always wear a mask when interacting with exposure assessment personnel. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided to you before you enter the facility. If you are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, please let us know. Part of our COVID-19-related precautions include doing the simple lung function test on your own in your home (also called remote spirometry).

For more information on CDC protective guidance, visit:

If you are interested in participating in the Cyanotoxins in Air STudy, please email or call 561-297-4631.