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  1. ITV Report

Concerns over safety of sea lettuce

The substance has been a familiar sight in the summer months in Jersey for many years. Credit: ITV Channel TV

There are fresh concerns about the safety of sea lettuce, after two deaths in Northern France have been blamed on the substance.

Fears were raised about possible Hydrogen Sulphide poisoning caused by decomposing sea lettuce.

It is thought the fumes from the rotting weed caused heart attacks in two men in Brittany, although the link has not been proven at this stage.

The substance has been a familiar sight in the summer months in Jersey for many years, covering most of St Aubin's Bay.

Health officials say the immediate health risk is low in Jersey, as the States regularly clears it away, so it does not have chance to rot. However, they would be prepared to close beaches if they believed people could be harmed.

With any vegetation rotting down there'll be an element of gas and things like that, but it's got to be pretty thick and in an open area. The levels we're talking about, there's absolutely no issue here. To-date, we've not had to close beaches, that is done with warning signs in France. If we felt and if the Environmental Health team felt, we were getting near that, we would do it.

– MARTIN GAUTIER, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF TECHNICAL SERVICES

For environmentalists, it is not just about solving the problem by removing it from the beaches, but also preventing the build up.

We can't just keep raking up sea lettuce, we need to fix what's coming into the sea from the land. We really just need to keep at this, there's no reason why Jersey can't be leading the world in this. We don't want to look at the world and say 'well they can't cope therefore we can't', let's just say 'we can do this and we can show the others how to do it'.

– Jacqui Carrel, Environmental Scientist

Becky Lancashire looks at how safe sea lettuce is in Jersey:

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