Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Toxin Talk in Miami

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Toxin Talk in Miami

Article excerpt

Summertime in the United States means crowds of people flocking to the coast to enjoy the beaches and oceans. For many people--with no small credit to Steven Spielberg--their biggest fear associated with the oceans is sharks. But a much more realistic and just as dangerous hazard may lurk beneath the waves. Marine and freshwater toxins such as ciguatoxins, saxitoxins, domoic acid, and brevetoxins are becoming more widespread around the world. These toxins may be eaten in seafood, ingested in ocean water, or breathed in the air, resulting in a wide range of effects including respiratory illness and paralytic, neurotoxic, amnesic, and diarrheic shellfish poisoning. For people concerned about exposure to these toxins, help is just a phone call away.

The toll-free Marine and Fresh Water Toxin Disease Reporting Hotline (1-888-232-8635) operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to provide diagnostic, treatment, and educational information. The hotline is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the University of Miami NIEHS Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center (MFBSC), in cooperation with the Florida Department of Health (FDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). …

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