The acidity of the oceans rises: what risks do we run?

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The acidity of the oceans rises: what risks do we run?

Ocean acidification is the name given to the decrease in the oceanic pH value, caused by the intake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. About a quarter of the CO2 present in the atmosphere ends up in the oceans where it turns into carbonic acid.

The increase in CO2 in the atmosphere therefore corresponds to a corresponding increase in that dissolved in sea water. It has been estimated that between 1751 and 1994, the surface pH of ocean waters dropped from 8.25 to 8.14, with a corresponding increase in the concentration of H + ions.

The process of continuous acidification of oceanic waters undoubtedly has an effect on the food chain connected to these waters and in particular can affect the lysocline and the depth of compensation of the carbonates, which leads to the dissolution of the calcareous shells of the shells of molluscs and calcareous plankton, made up of calcium carbonate.

The article Ocean Acidification and Human Health, published on the International journal of environmental research and public health, tries to give an explanation to this phenomenon and its consequences on health. The abstracet said: "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."