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The 2012 Burntwood Lecture Revisiting Rachel: The Legacy of Silent Spring Fifty Years On. The Sea Around Us Professor Michael H. Depledge DSc. Chair of.

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Presentation on theme: "The 2012 Burntwood Lecture Revisiting Rachel: The Legacy of Silent Spring Fifty Years On. The Sea Around Us Professor Michael H. Depledge DSc. Chair of."— Presentation transcript:

1 The 2012 Burntwood Lecture Revisiting Rachel: The Legacy of Silent Spring Fifty Years On. The Sea Around Us Professor Michael H. Depledge DSc. Chair of Environment and Human Health

2 Aquatic Origins? Sir Alistair Hardy Sir Alistair Hardy Omega 3 Omega 3 Vernix Vernix Religions Religions

3 Why focus oceans and health? 2-3 billion increase in population by 2050 in developing countries of the tropics and subtropics. Sewage disposal largely into estuaries and coastal waters. More than half of the world's 7 billion population currently live in cities. Up to 60% by Worlds 33 major cities will have > 8 million residents by of them are coastal cities.

4 Why focus on coastal communities? Industrial manufacture is shifting to developing countries mainly near rivers, estuaries and coasts (with associated pollutant discharges) Most of the impacts of climate change will be felt by coastal communities (sea-level rise, storms, altered ocean currents, etc.) Seafood is a vital source of protein (half from coastal aquaculture). Reduction or interruption of this food supply could be catastrophic both economically and with regard to the health and wellbeing of more than 2 billion people.

5 Oceanic fishing is worth US$ 82 billion annually ($ 2.5 billion in the USA). Oceanic fishing is worth US$ 82 billion annually ($ 2.5 billion in the USA). During 1990s, annual catch levelled off at 90 million tons. During 1990s, annual catch levelled off at 90 million tons. Future increases to be met by aquaculture - frequently involves destruction of coastal wetlands. Future increases to be met by aquaculture - frequently involves destruction of coastal wetlands. Black Sea, North Atlantic and Caribbean fisheries are collapsing. (Source: Wilson, 2002) Black Sea, North Atlantic and Caribbean fisheries are collapsing. (Source: Wilson, 2002) HUMAN HEALTH AND OVERFISHING

6 Overt health threats from the Ocean Drowning (and related injuries) Drowning (and related injuries) Contamination of seafood (algal toxins, microbes, chemical pollutants and radioisotopes) Contamination of seafood (algal toxins, microbes, chemical pollutants and radioisotopes)

7 Harmful algal blooms

8 RAMP : integrated environmental & human health risk assessment (PAHs) Indoorcooking Urine sampling PAH analysis Oil industry

9 Hypoxia in the Oceans

10 Interconnections between humans and the environment: a historical perspective

11 $1 trillion in 1900 $10 trillion in 1967 $52 trillion in 2003 World GDP (trillion 1990 dollars World GDP (trillion 1990 dollars) Source: DeLong 1998 Economic History of the World

12 in a cubic mile of seawater there are about $93,000,000 of gold and $8,500,000 of silver. To treat this volume of water in a year would require the twice daily filling and emptying of 200 tanks of water, each 500 feet square and 5 feet deep. in a cubic mile of seawater there are about $93,000,000 of gold and $8,500,000 of silver. To treat this volume of water in a year would require the twice daily filling and emptying of 200 tanks of water, each 500 feet square and 5 feet deep. Rachel Carson, (1952 Rachel Carson, (1952 ) A guide to getting rich quickly ! Each tank = 18.5 swimming pools

13 Contaminants from human activities entering environments. Conventional Metals (mercury, cadmium, lead) Metals (mercury, cadmium, lead) Pesticides Pesticides Persistent Organic Pollutants Persistent Organic Pollutants (PCBs, Dioxins, DDT, etc.) (PCBs, Dioxins, DDT, etc.) Endocrine disruptors Endocrine disruptors Oil pollution (PAHs) Oil pollution (PAHs) Nutrients (N, P) Nutrients (N, P) New (?) (examples) Brominated Flame Brominated Flame Retardants Retardants Plastics Plastics Pharmaceuticals Pharmaceuticals Platinum Platinum PFOS (perfluoroctane sulfonate) PFOS (perfluoroctane sulfonate) Nanomaterials Nanomaterials

14 Contaminants in the Oceans. PFOA, BDEs, algal toxins, pharmaceuticals, nanomaterials, etc, etc. DDT, PCBs, Dioxins, PAHs, Other POPs, Metals. TBT, BPA, EDCs

15 Dioxin TEQ levels by age: 4 studies Patterson, ORGANOHALOGEN COMPOUNDS – Volume 66 (2004)

16 MenWomen Millions From Ed Stephan, Global Health Network Human Demographics Population ageing e.g. USA

17 Depledge et al Depledge et al. (2012) Marine Environmental Research, (in press) Body burdens of contaminants with age

18 Melzer D, Rice N, Depledge MH, Henley WE, Galloway TS Association Between Serum Perfluoroctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Thyroid Disease in the NHANES Study. Environ Health Perspect :-. doi: /ehp Lang, I.A, Galloway, T.S., Scarlett, A., Henley, W.E., Depledge, M.H., Wallace, R.B. and Melzer, D. (2008). Association of Bisphenol A concentration with medical disorders and laboratory abnormalities in adults. Journal of the American Medical Association, 300(11), Are environmental chemicals altering the incidence and pattern of diseases?

19 Managing pharmaceuticals in the environment What about nanomedicines?

20 16 November 2012 Resistance to antibiotics is one of the greatest threats to modern health, experts say. The warning from England's chief medical officer and the Health Protection Agency comes amid reports of growing problems with resistant strains of bugs such as E. coli and gonorrhoea. They said many antibiotics were being used unnecessarily for mild infections, helping to create resistance. And they urged patients to take more care with how they used medicines. This is particularly important as there are very few new antibiotics in development. The chief medical officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, said: "Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at a rate that is both alarming and irreversible - similar to global warming.

21 IPCC temperature projections From IPCC Report Climate Change 2001: We are here Climate Predictions

22 Now, in our own lifetime, we are witnessing a startling alteration of climate..... It is now established beyond question that a definite change in the arctic climate set in about 1900, that it became astonishingly marked about 1930, and that it is now spreading into sub-arctic and temperate regions. The frigid top of the world in very clearly warming up! Now, in our own lifetime, we are witnessing a startling alteration of climate..... It is now established beyond question that a definite change in the arctic climate set in about 1900, that it became astonishingly marked about 1930, and that it is now spreading into sub-arctic and temperate regions. The frigid top of the world in very clearly warming up! Rachel Carson (1952)

23 Coming soon to a place near you! Flash floods Coastal flooding Storm surges Heat waves Infectious diseases Invasive species Toxic algal blooms Hurricanes Ocean acidification Ozone Crop failure

24 Mitigation & Co-benefits: Artificial Reefs Fishing Community Renewable Energy Artificial reef - coastal protection

25 Are health threats from the oceans being under-estimated? being under-estimated?

26 Human beings cannot bear too much reality T.S. Elliot T.S. Elliot

27 The Value of Oceans for Wellbeing: Choosing a hotel room….. A B C 3 rooms are identical except view from the balcony $71.94 $ $91.22 White et al, 2010 (in press)

28 Pharmaceuticals and Medical Research –Ecteinascidin 743 potent anti cancer drug from the Caribbean sea squirt; –Conotoxin Potent anti-pain drug from marine cone snail –Brevenal possible cystic fibrosis agent from Florida Red Tide toxin. Nobel Prize winning use of marine animal models

29 Trends in the prevalence of obesity

30 Source: NASA & WHO Disease patterns by Aids 2. Depression 3. Stroke 1. Aids 2. Infant Mortality 3. Depression 1.Depression 2.Heart Attack 3.Alzheimers 1.Depression 2.Heart Attack 3.Alzheimers 1. Aids 2. Depression 3. Stroke 1.Depression 2.Heart Attack 3.Alzheimers

31 Health and Wellbeing from the Environment Rockpool rambles Sailin Sailing Coastal walks Swimming Kayaking Surfing Diving Bluegym.org.uk Blue Gym = Campaign + Research Rigorous scientific studies (RCT, intervention & mechanistic studies)

32 Does living by the sea improve your health and wellbeing? B. Wheeler, M. White, W. Stahl-Timmins and M.H. Depledge, 2012 (in press)

33 Moore, M.N. Depledge, M.H. et al. 2012, Microbial Ecol. (in press)

34 Oceans, human health and wellbeing: Specific Questions. Can we demonstrate associations between ecosystem health and human health? How do adverse natural events (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding, tsunami, severe storms impact) on public health? How does eutrophication from land-based nutrient influx impact on seafood security and safety? How do harmful algal blooms (HABs) and other biogenic toxins cause direct-contact toxicity and impair seafood safety and other impacts on human health? What are the transmission routes and public health consequences of pathogens (helminths, protozoans, bacterial and viral)? Are there negative impacts of aquaculture on the environment and public health? Are there risks from contamination of seawater and seafood by micro- and nanoparticles and conventional chemical pollution, including complex mixtures? What are the risks from radio-nuclides, including direct risks and food safety and security as a result of the expansion of the nuclear energy industry? Are there common pathways for transport and uptake of pathogens and chemical/particle pollutants? What are the impacts of food safety and food quality (nutritional components)? Can problems with food security (over-exploitation, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss; reduction in adaptive capacity through loss of genetic diversity) be effectively managed to prevent loss of biological resources (fisheries)? Does proximity to the seas and coasts have health benefits? - the Blue Gym effect. Can environmental, social and economic interactions (quality of governance, pressures from coastal zone overpopulation and sustaining critical coastal ecosystems) be predicted? Oceans, human health and wellbeing: Specific Questions. Can we demonstrate associations between ecosystem health and human health? How do adverse natural events (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding, tsunami, severe storms impact) on public health? How does eutrophication from land-based nutrient influx impact on seafood security and safety? How do harmful algal blooms (HABs) and other biogenic toxins cause direct-contact toxicity and impair seafood safety and other impacts on human health? What are the transmission routes and public health consequences of pathogens (helminths, protozoans, bacterial and viral)? Are there negative impacts of aquaculture on the environment and public health? Are there risks from contamination of seawater and seafood by micro- and nanoparticles and conventional chemical pollution, including complex mixtures? What are the risks from radio-nuclides, including direct risks and food safety and security as a result of the expansion of the nuclear energy industry? Are there common pathways for transport and uptake of pathogens and chemical/particle pollutants? What are the impacts of food safety and food quality (nutritional components)? Can problems with food security (over-exploitation, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss; reduction in adaptive capacity through loss of genetic diversity) be effectively managed to prevent loss of biological resources (fisheries)? Does proximity to the seas and coasts have health benefits? - the Blue Gym effect. Can environmental, social and economic interactions (quality of governance, pressures from coastal zone overpopulation and sustaining critical coastal ecosystems) be predicted?

35 The Future..... Global population –decreasing after Global population –decreasing after Technological advances can reduce pollution. Technological advances can reduce pollution. Improvements in aquaculture and land use can Improvements in aquaculture and land use can deliver more food. deliver more food. Marine conservation strategies can protect Marine conservation strategies can protect and restore marine biodiversity. and restore marine biodiversity. Exploration of the oceans (especially the deep Exploration of the oceans (especially the deep oceans can provide new resources and new oceans can provide new resources and new insights about the planet. insights about the planet. The oceans offer new opportunities to improveThe oceans offer new opportunities to improve human health and wellbeing. human health and wellbeing.

36 For the sea lies all around us..... In its mysterious past it encompasses all the dim origins of life and receives in the end, after many transmutations, the dead husks of that same life..... For all at last return to the sea Rachel Carson, (1952) If you would like to help, please contact


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