212982 Oceans and public health: Future climate change challenges

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 11:10 AM

Paul Sandifer, PhD , Senior Science Advisor to the NOAA Administrator and National Ocean Service Senior Scientist for Coastal Ecology, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Charleston, SC
Our oceans and our climate affect our health both directly, and through ecosystem changes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) capabilities help to understand, predict, adapt to and mitigate ocean-related and climate-sensitive health risks, and conserve and manage its biological resources and species. NOAA works with public health partners, such as the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), APHA, and with Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS) and related efforts to meet these challenges. NOAA strives to understand how ocean health can affect human health through a positive lens, such as deriving life-saving medicines from the sea, and a negative lens including exposure to health risks associated with contaminated seafood, beaches, and drinking water. Climate change and variability, including shifts in ocean currents, temperature, acidification, and global precipitation is likely to affect the distribution, frequency and duration of HABs and their biotoxins; increase the prevalence and virulence of existing and emerging zoonotic pathogens and disease vectors; affect bioaccumulation of chemical contaminants in food webs; reduce availability of seafood, drinking water and marine natural products and lead to loss of valuable ecosystem services. NOAA, along with the National Science Foundation (NSF); the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS); and CDC must continue to address these issues; and use findings to mitigate future ocean and climate related health risks. This can only be accomplished through strong and sustained partnerships between public health and earth science communities.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss with the public health community potential health threats from the sea that might be by increased by climate change and variability in order to help better define future research and information needs and management and communication strategies.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Of my 15 years of experience building an oceans and human health program in NOAA that addresses public health threats from the sea and partnering to build the broader national OHH community.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.