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Your Environment. Your Health.

Oceans and Human Health

Program Lead

Frederick L. Tyson
Fred Tyson, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
Tel (919) 541-0176
Fax (919) 564-5064
tyson2@niehs.nih.gov
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop K3-15
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
Delivery Instructions
Scuba diver underwater with several fish

Program Description

The oceans can affect our health in many ways. Eating contaminated seafood, swimming in polluted water, and exposure to toxins from harmful algal blooms can all cause health problems.

The ocean contains a multitude of microscopic organisms, some of which produce toxins when conditions are right. These harmful algal blooms (sometimes called red tides) can contaminate shellfish such as clams and mussels, and eating the contaminated seafood may cause serious illness. Some harmful algal blooms produce airborne toxins that cause health problems when inhaled.

NIEHS and the National Science Foundation jointly fund research on marine-related health issues through the Centers for Oceans and Human Health and through individual research projects focusing on oceans, great lakes, and human health. Grantees are developing techniques for more accurate and earlier detection of harmful algal blooms with the goal of preventing or reducing exposure, and they are studying the health effects of eating seafood that harbors toxins produced by harmful algal blooms.

In addition, NIEHS grantees are examining the health effects of consuming seafood containing pollutants such as PCBs and mercury, identifying indicators of recreational water contamination and illness, and exploring how climate change might affect the formation and transfer of methyl mercury to the fish and shellfish that humans consume.

Additional Program Contacts

Kimberly A. McAllister, Ph.D.
Kimberly McAllister, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
Tel (919) 541-4528
Fax (919) 316-4606
mcallis2@niehs.nih.gov
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop K3-12
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
Delivery Instructions

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