Can sargassum make you sick?

Travelers and doctors alike should be aware that prolonged contact with the Sargassum weed, or inhaling the hydrogen sulfide gas it gives off as it decomposes on the beach, can cause heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, vertigo, headache and skin rashes, the authors write in the Journal of Travel …

Is Sargassum harmful to humans?

Sargassum is a type of brown seaweed that is washing up on beaches in Florida. … Although the seaweed itself cannot harm your health, tiny sea creatures that live in Sargassum can cause skin rashes and blisters.

Can seaweed on the beach make you sick?

Breathing hydrogen sulfide can irritate the eyes, nose and throat. At higher levels, the chemical can cause headaches, poor memory, tiredness and balance problems. The Florida Department of Health “has not and does not measure hydrogen sulfide on beaches from decaying Sargassum,” said Miranda C.

Is it safe to swim in sargassum?

Sargassum presents risks to human health as well. In the water, it’s harmless to humans, but the trouble begins once it lands on the beach and starts to decompose. The decomposition of beached sargasso begins 48 hours after washing up. It then releases hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas and ammonia.

Can the smell of seaweed make you sick?

It is damaging because it can affect the body’s ability to absorb and use oxygen. Inhaling it may also cause headaches, feeling sick, eye and skin irritation or, in more serious cases, seizures, paralysis or death.

Can you burn sargassum?

Sargassum burns cleaner and does not emit much dust or smoke. It also burns longer, making it perfect for cooking jerk, a traditional Jamaican style of seasoning and preparing meat.

How do you get rid of sargassum?


The SURF RAKE is the only sand cleaner that easily removes wet, heavy seaweed and mounds of sargassum. Beach cleanup can be a struggle when sargassum weed is continually deposited on the beach.

How long does it take for sargassum to decompose?

Onshore, sargassum starts decomposing after 48 hours (4), releasing hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and ammonia (NH3) gases, which can cause respiratory and neurological symptoms in exposed populations (5, 6).

Can seaweed be toxic?

While seaweeds are classified as macroalgae. There are currently no known poisonous or toxic seaweeds in existence. … Incredibly there are only 14 reported deaths ever linked to eating seaweed, and the reports state that it’s not the seaweed itself but bacteria that had grown upon the seaweed.

Can seaweed sting you?

Stinging seaweed disease is a skin irritation caused by direct exposure to a poisonous type of algae named Lyngbya majuscula. The fine, hairlike, dark-brown seaweed, commonly known as lyngbya, is found in tropical and subtropical marine and estuarine environment worldwide, including Hawaiian shoreline.

What can you do with sargassum?

Here are some examples of the most practical and creative uses of sargassum seaweed in the Caribbean.

  • Paper products. sarganico_ …
  • Cosmetic and skin care products. …
  • Cocktail drinks. …
  • Bricks for house construction. …
  • Fertilizer.

Which Caribbean islands are not affected by sargassum?

Best Caribbean Beaches Without Seaweed – Where to Go in 2022

  1. Grand Anse in St. …
  2. Morne Rouge Beach on Grenada. …
  3. Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. …
  4. Palm Beach on Aruba, Dutch Caribbean. …
  5. Playa Porto Mari on Curacao, Dutch Caribbean. …
  6. Bloody Bay and Long Bay Beaches in Negril, Jamaica.

Why does it stink in the Florida Keys?

Bad smells in the Florida Keys are usually from rotting sargassum seaweed and other organic matter on beaches, in the ocean and on the seafloor. Bad smells can also arise from muddy, shallow water environments which are common throughout the Keys. The severity of the smell is heavily dependent on the wind direction.

Does sargassum contain arsenic?

Sargasso seaweeds (i.e., genus Sargassum), which taxonomically include hijiki, contain high levels of inorganic arsenic that account for 80% of the total arsenic content (Sanders, 1979), partly due to phytochelatins (Gekeler et al., 1988) that sequester inorganic arsenic (Perales-Vela et al., 2006).

What is causing sargassum?

Warmer, overnutrified waters

Data gathered over the past decade has revealed the likely causes of these seaweed invasions: Saharan dust clouds, warming temperatures and the growing human nitrogen footprint. Just as nutrients feed red tide blooms, they feed sargassum, which thrives in warmer water.

Is sargassum a red seaweed?

Sargassum is a type of seaweed, or brown algae, that spends its life on the ocean’s surface and floats in large masses. Unlike red tide and blue-green algae, sargassum isn’t harmful. In fact, it’s an important fish habitat that provides food and refuge for fish, birds, crabs, shrimp and many other marine organisms.

What animals eat sargassum?

Green sea turtles will eat large amounts of sargassum throughout their lifetimes. Besides sea turtles, this floating habitat provides food, refuge and breeding grounds for an array of other sea life including crabs, shrimp, mahi mahi, jacks, and amberjacks.

What does sargassum look like?

Sargassum is a brown algae and the ‘grapes’ are the air bladders, which keep it afloat. It may look like the attached marine plants found in coastal waters, but it’s found in the middle of the North Atlantic Gyre. The area, of about 2 million square miles, is known as the Sargasso Sea.

Why does it smell in Key West?

That ubiquitous smell is decaying sargassum, islands of floating, brown sea algae that is piling up along the beaches of Key West, the Florida peninsula, Mexico and other Caribbean islands. Happens every summer when the winds and currents come from the south.

What is a sargassum invasion?

Since 2011, Caribbean beaches from northern Florida and Mexico to Isla Margarita off the northern coast of Venezuela have been invaded by sargassum, an alga that darkens the beautiful ocean waters and dies on the beach, creating a barrier and producing an awful smell as it decomposes.

What happens to washed up seaweed?

Every year, millions of tonnes of seaweed washes up on beaches of Mexico, the Caribbean and many others around the world.

How do you clean beach seaweed?

The tines on the conveyor belt clean the beach from the top down, removing seaweed without scooping up sand in the process. This makes tine raking beach cleaners much more effective at removing seaweed than sifters, since sand often has difficulty shaking free from the seaweed when both are scooped onto the screen.

Does Sargassum turn to sand?

Sargassum DOES NOT become sand, if that was the case we would have solved the beach erosion problem. Sand in the Caribbean is almost exclusively organic, crushed coral, shells and skeletons of other organisms become sand thanks to different processes.

What happens when Sargassum decomposes?

Decomposition of Sargassum Seaweed

Once washed upon the bays and coastline in large quantities, Sargassum seaweed is unable to dry thoroughly and it starts decomposing. During the decomposing process, the seaweed releases a gas called hydrogen sulfide. This is a colorless gas that resembles the smell of rotten eggs.

What are the health benefits of Sargassum seaweed?


  • In vitro antioxidant activity. …
  • Cholinesterase inhibitory activity. …
  • Neuroprotective (Neurite outgrowth promoting) activity. …
  • Anti-cancer and cytotoxic activity. …
  • Anti-pyretic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory activities. …
  • Hepatoprotective activity. …
  • Anti-viral activity.

What are the side effects of seaweed?

When consumed in moderation, seaweed snacks are a good source of iodine and other nutrients. When overconsumed, the side effects may include thyroid problems, thyroid medication interaction, digestive discomfort and potential exposure to radiation and heavy metals.

How much dried seaweed is too much?

So how much seaweed is safe to eat? For healthy individuals without a thyroid condition, the recommended daily allowance for adults 19 years and older is 150 micrograms and the upper limit is 1,100 micrograms, according to Dreher.

How much Wakame can you eat?

Wakame is somewhere in the middle (where moderate consumption should be fine, but excessive consumption of over 10-20g daily could cause issues) and Kombu which is a significant risk for iodine toxicity.

Can I be allergic to seaweed?

Allergy to seaweed-derived products has been previously reported. Airborne allergens from nonedible green algae have been reported to increase the respiratory symptoms in children with respiratory allergy.

Can you have allergic reaction to seaweed?

If you develop severe symptoms of seaweed irritation such as shortness of breath, hives, eye irritation, or fever, seek medical care right away.

Can seaweed cause allergy?

Ingestion, even at very low doses, may cause immediate allergic reaction.

Is sargassum used as food?

Alginate in Sargassum can be used as a functional food. Marine macro-algae and plants generally store their food reserves in the form of carbohydrates, especially polysaccharides.

Is sargassum good for plants?

Sargassum is a particular type of seaweed that is common in coastal regions within the Gulf of Mexico, and is traditionally disposed of by being integrated into dunes along the shoreline or into landfills. But this particular seaweed contains potentially useful nutrients that could benefit plant growth on land.

Is sargassum a sea moss?

So what exactly is it? This particular seaweed is known as sargassum. It’s not the same seaweed/sea moss that you use in your smoothies or sushi dishes (at least not yet, but more on that later). To make matters worse, as mounds of it decomposes, the smell hits you.

Where is sargassum now?

USF scientists use NASA satellite images to track Sargassum, a brown seaweed. In June 2021 (shown above) they found it in record-high amounts in the Caribbean, central west Atlantic Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico.

How can we prevent sargassum in Mexico?

From June 20: A floating barrier has been installed to prevent sargassum reaching the shores of Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo. Local authorities put up the 2.5km-long fence as part of their on-going efforts to prevent the seaweed from hitting the land, according to Mexico News Daily.

Why is sargassum important?

Sargassum provides refuge for migratory species and essential habitat for some 120 species of fish and more than 120 species of invertebrates. It’s an important nursery habitat that provides shelter and food for endangered species such as sea turtles and for commercially important species of fish such as tunas.

What should you avoid in Key West?

Avoid these 5 tourist traps to keep your Key West vacation relaxing and enjoyable

  • T-Shirt Shops. For years, Key West had a well-documented problem with Duval Street t-shirt shops. …
  • $5 Shops. Many of the shady t-shirt shops have tried a new line of attack – the $5 store. …
  • Jewelry Stores. …
  • Shady Art Galleries. …
  • Cosmetic Shops.

What celebrities live in Key West?


  • President Harry S. Truman. …
  • Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway is perhaps Key West’s most famous resident. …
  • Judy Blume. Another famous author to have a home in Key West is Judy Blume. …
  • Jimmy Buffett. Most people don’t realize that Jimmy Buffett got his musical start right here in Key West.

Are there alligators in Key West?

Probably not. There’s simply not enough fresh water in Key West, which has no lakes, no rivers, and gets significantly less rainfall than the Upper Keys, Everglades, or Miami. Occasionally, Key West gets American Crocodiles.

Why is there so much seaweed in Vero beach?

The seaweeds, which float around on the ocean’s surface, are driven inshore by easterly winds where they form bigger piles along the Southeast Florida coast because that’s where the peninsula juts out closest to the Gulf Stream carrying the weeds north.

Is sargassum a problem in Punta Cana?

Punta Cana Seaweed coming from the Sargasso Sea is a usual sight especially during summer months in the east part of the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana seaweed is worst when the weather is hotter, and it almost disappears during the winter months in the northern hemisphere.

Is sargassum good for the environment?

When Sargassum dies and sinks, it transports nutrients to deep sea environments. It can also nourish beaches, but may become a nuisance when algal blooms cause large amounts to arrive on shore. While Sargassum is extremely important to marine ecosystems, its potential as a bioremediator has been understudied.