Slimy, stinky brown seaweed that ruins beachgoers' vacations from Mexico to Florida may be the new normal unless Brazil halts Amazon deforestation, experts say. The culprit, called sargassum, turns clear-blue seawater a murky brown and smells like rotten eggs when it washes ashore and starts to rot.
Tourists to the Caribbean may not realize that a brown drifting seaweed that's been piling up on beaches in recent years is dangerous, researchers say. 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 Medicine.
Tourists looking for sun and sand in Mexican resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum have been disgusted by foul-smelling mounds of sargassum – a seaweed-like algae – piling up on beaches and turning turquoise waters brown, and experts are warning that it may be the new normal.