Marine Science Faculty Publications

More Surprises in the Global Greenhouse: Human Health Impacts from Recent Toxic Marine Aerosol Formations, Due to Centennial Alterations of World-Wide Coastal Food Webs

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aerosols, biogeochemical cycles, health impacts, marine systems

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Reductions of zooplankton biomasses and grazing pressures were observed during overfishing-induced trophic cascades and concurrent oil spills at global scales. Recent phytoplankton increments followed, once Fe-, P-, and N-nutrient limitations of commensal diazotrophs and dinoflagellates were also eliminated by respective human desertification, deforestation, and eutrophication during climate changes. Si-limitation of diatoms instead ensued during these last anthropogenic perturbations of agricultural effluents and sewage loadings. Consequently, ~ 15% of total world-wide annual asthma trigger responses, i.e. amounting to ~ 45 million adjacent humans during 2004, resulted from brevetoxin and palytoxin poisons in aerosol forms of western boundary current origins. They were denoted by greater global harmful algal bloom [HAB] abundances and breathing attacks among sea-side children during prior decadal surveys of asthma prevalence, compiled here in ten paired shelf ecosystems of western and eutrophied boundary currents. Since 1965, such inferred onshore fluxes of aerosolized DOC poisons of HABs may have served as additional wind-borne organic carriers of toxic marine MeHg, phthalate, and DDT/DDE vectors, traced by radio-iodine isotopes to potentially elicit carcinomas. During these exchanges, as much as 40% of mercury poisonings may instead have been effected by inhalation of collateral HAB-carried marine neurotoxic aerosols of MeHg, not just from eating marine fish. Health impacts in some areas were additional asthma and pneumonia episodes, as well as endocrine disruptions among the same adjacent humans, with known large local rates of thyroid cancers, physician-diagnosed pulmonary problems, and ubiquitous high indices of mercury in hair, pesticides in breast milk, and phthalates in urine.

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Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 116, issue 1-2, p. 9-40