U.S. funds new research centers to study ocean-related exposures' impact on human health

  • World
  • Wednesday, 17 Apr 2024

LOS ANGELES, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. National Science Foundation are jointly funding four new research centers to better understand how ocean-related exposures affect people's health.

Each center will focus on a different aspect of the interplay between environmental science, climate change, and human health in the ocean or Great Lakes, NIH said in a statement on Tuesday.

Together the two agencies plan to invest more than 42 million U.S. dollars over five years for the centers program.

Millions of tons of small pieces of plastic, referred to as microplastics, are finding their way into the world's oceans. These microplastics, ranging from the size of a width of a pencil to smaller than a sesame seed, often get eaten by fish and shellfish and are passed to humans through seafood consumption.

These plastic particles and other factors, including a warming climate and more extreme weather events, are affecting the health of waterways, and in turn, the health of people, said NIH.

"The connection among ocean pollution, climate change, and human health are problems that we are only beginning to understand," said Anika Dzierlenga, program lead at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

"People rely on oceans and lakes for jobs, food, tourism, recreation. These centers will help bring researchers and community groups together to study and take action to protect public health in coastal regions and around the Great Lakes," Dzierlenga said.

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