Occupational Safety

Aquatic Pathogens

There are a number of agents, including algae, blue-green algae, fungi, helminth worms, protozoa and viruses that are common denizens of pond water. Typically these cause dermatitis and skin irritation at the point of contact.

An increase in strandings and deaths of marine mammals along U.S. coastlines during 2010-2012 has increased the likelihood of human/animal interactions, which increase the risk for exposure to Brucella species and other pathogenic organisms. Persons who handle stranded marine mammals or carcasses should be made aware of any potential health risks associated with these activities and use appropriate personal protective equipment.

If you work with water that is stagnant or laden with organic material, you should wash your hands and arms thoroughly after contact with the water (as when cleaning a fish tank).

If you're in a situation in which you will spend a significant amount of time with your arms immersed in water, you should wear sturdy, impervious gloves.

If develop a rash or other lesion (PDF) on your hands or arms, be sure to report your exposure to pond water to your physician.