In Hot Water: Rising Public Health Concerns from Changing Ocean Conditions

Saturday, February 19, 2011: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
207A (Washington Convention Center )
Our planet’s ocean is the driving force for climate processes, and its condition is equally susceptible to climate change–induced warming, changes in pH, and alteration of circulation patterns. Across the globe, nations are experiencing the impacts of climate change firsthand with threats to food supply, economic productivity, and public health security. In this changing ocean world, the health of the environment is increasingly tied to human health, with obvious risks associated with air pollution and extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods, and hurricanes. Little is known about emerging health threats. This session highlights groundbreaking studies to discover how climate change can influence exposure and risk of human disease or illness originating from U.S. oceans, and coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems. Topics covered by a panel of government and academic scientists include health threats via seafood supply from changes in harmful algal bloom seasons and toxicity and effect of global production and oceanic deposition of desert dust on population dynamics of marine pathogens. Another topic is how beach and drinking water contamination could rise in urban coastal areas due to inadequate sanitation and sewage infrastructure to handle the projected increase in storm event frequency. These findings can be integrated into health risk assessment models in the United States to predict, mitigate, and prevent human exposure and have broad international application to rising public health concerns.
Carolyn Sotka, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Oceans and Human Health Initiative
Paul Sandifer, NOAA
Juli Trtanj, NOAA Oceans and Human Health Initiative
Stephanie Moore, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center
The Risk Factor: Climate Change Opens Windows of Opportunity for Harmful Algal Blooms
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