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Ocean Acidification and Human Health

Simon F.S. Li Marine Laboratory, School of Life Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR, China
SKLEC-NIVA Centre for Marine and Coastal Research, State Key Laboratory for Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, 500 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200241, China
Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Thormølensgate 53D, N-5007 Bergen, Norway
Southern Seas Ecology Laboratories, The Environment Institute, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School c/o Knowledge Spa RCHT, Truro, Cornwall TR1 3HD, UK
Swire Institute of Marine Science and School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong SAR, China
Prostate Cancer Institute, Galway Clinic, Doughiska, H91HHT0 Galway, Ireland
Department for Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Kristineberg 566, 45178 Fiskebäckskil, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4563;
Received: 31 May 2020 / Revised: 19 June 2020 / Accepted: 20 June 2020 / Published: 24 June 2020
The ocean provides resources key to human health and well-being, including food, oxygen, livelihoods, blue spaces, and medicines. The global threat to these resources posed by accelerating ocean acidification is becoming increasingly evident as the world’s oceans absorb carbon dioxide emissions. While ocean acidification was initially perceived as a threat only to the marine realm, here we argue that it is also an emerging human health issue. Specifically, we explore how ocean acidification affects the quantity and quality of resources key to human health and well-being in the context of: (1) malnutrition and poisoning, (2) respiratory issues, (3) mental health impacts, and (4) development of medical resources. We explore mitigation and adaptation management strategies that can be implemented to strengthen the capacity of acidifying oceans to continue providing human health benefits. Importantly, we emphasize that the cost of such actions will be dependent upon the socioeconomic context; specifically, costs will likely be greater for socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, exacerbating the current inequitable distribution of environmental and human health challenges. Given the scale of ocean acidification impacts on human health and well-being, recognizing and researching these complexities may allow the adaptation of management such that not only are the harms to human health reduced but the benefits enhanced. View Full-Text
Keywords: ocean acidification; global climate change; human health; seafood; malnutrition; air quality; respiratory health; biodiversity loss ocean acidification; global climate change; human health; seafood; malnutrition; air quality; respiratory health; biodiversity loss
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Falkenberg, L.J.; Bellerby, R.G.; Connell, S.D.; Fleming, L.E.; Maycock, B.; Russell, B.D.; Sullivan, F.J.; Dupont, S. Ocean Acidification and Human Health. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 4563.

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