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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
18-Feb-2008

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Contact: Ben Sherman
ben.sherman@noaa.gov
202-253-5256
NOAA Research

Oceans, coasts and your health: Reducing risks and reaping rewards

It is clear that the health of our ocean and coastal environment is intimately linked to our health. New ocean and coastal related diseases are emerging. Our beaches and coastal waters are increasingly contaminated. Yet there is a growing awareness about the treasure trove of pharmaceuticals, natural products and seafood benefits our oceans hold.

"The connection between environment and health is not new," says NOAA's Juli Trtanj who serves as head of the NOAA Oceans and Human Health Initiative. "But what is new is a heightened effort in the science community to bring a new arsenal of diverse research, tools, and information to bear on this issue --- and importantly to coordinate the efforts in research, application and training."

Trtanj in her talk as part of the symposium, "Sustaining Human Health in a Changing Global Environment" at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, will discuss how NOAA and its partners are working to develop early health warning systems to reduce public health risks and also optimize the health benefits that can come from the sea including pharmaceuticals, natural products and safe sustainable seafood.

Through its Oceans and Human Health Initiative, NOAA is undertaking a critical look at the health of our oceans and coasts and how those waters are impacting our own health and well-being. The program's goal is to understand and predict the connections between the condition of oceans, coasts, Great Lakes waters, and human health while providing information focused on reducing the current and future risks to public health.

This presentation will also address the future directions in ocean and human health as described in "Interagency Oceans and Human Health Research Implementation Plan: A Prescription for the Future," recently released by the Joint Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (JSOST), Interagency Working Group on Harmful Algal Blooms, Hypoxia and Human Health, and other related Federal activities.

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To learn more about the federal Ocean Action Plan efforts on oceans and human health we invite you to listen to Trtanj's presentation.

Trtanj will also be available for interviews with journalists. To set up an interview, please call Ben Sherman, NOAA Public Affairs, at 202-253-5256.



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