Ohio agencies considered stricter lake toxin limit

COLUMBUS, OH (AP) - A newspaper finds that the toxin standard adopted for warning swimmers to avoid Ohio lakes is more than three times more lenient than initially proposed.

Public records obtained by The Columbus Dispatch show that state officials were poised in early May to issue a no-touch warning if the toxin microcystin measured at 6 parts per billion and there had been a human illness or pet death.

The environmental protection and natural resources directors subsequently warned their peers that tourism could suffer if standards were overly strict without warrant.

In mid-June, officials announced a no-touch standard of 20 parts per billion. A softer warning, against wading and swimming, is triggered by the 6-parts level.

The health department director tells The Dispatch for a Sunday report that the adopted standards provide adequate safeguards for public health.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)