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Chapter 23 : Connecting the Oceans and Human Health

By National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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Book Id: WPLBN0000682245
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 1,023.55 KB.
Reproduction Date: 2005
Full Text

Title: Chapter 23 : Connecting the Oceans and Human Health  
Author: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Volume:
Language: English
Subject: Science., Ecology & environment, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (U.S.)
Collection: National Oceanographic Data Center
Subcollection:
Historic
Publication Date:
Publisher: Government Reference Publication

Excerpt
Excerpt: UNDERSTANDING THE LINKS BETWEEN THE OCEANS AND HUMAN HEALTH. While the topics generally included under the umbrella of Oceans and Human Health, such as harmful algal blooms and pharmaceutical development, may at first seem to be unrelated, they are actually inextricably linked. The health of marine ecosystems is affected by human activities such as pollution, global warming, and fishing. But in addition, human health depends on thriving ocean ecosystems. A better understanding about the many ways marine organisms affect human health, both for good by providing drugs and bioproducts, and bad by causing human ailments, is needed. The oceans sustain human health and well-being by providing food resources and absorbing waste from areas of human habitation. For many years, the ocean?s carrying capacity for meeting both these needs was assumed to be limitless. As we know today, this is not true. Scientists have reported that excessive human releases of nutrients and pollution into the ocean, and a subtle, yet measurable, rise in ocean surface temperatures are causing an increase in pathogens, primarily bacteria and viruses. These environmental conditions can also promote excessive growth of microscopic algae, some of which can produce toxins that are released into the water and air, and become concentrated in the tissues of fish and shellfish. When these toxins are ingested or inhaled by humans, they present health risks ranging from annoying to deadly.

 

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