Earth Day: What’s below the surface

With more than 30,000 lakes, 700 springs, 12,000 miles of rivers and streams and 1,350 miles of coastline, there are few states that match Florida for its relationship and dependence on water.

For this core group of PHHP researchers, who are also members of UF’s Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology, Water Institute and Emerging Pathogens Institute, there is an urgent need to identify emerging contaminants in Florida’s waters, assess their impact and use that data to inform local, state and federal agencies. To accomplish this, they collaborate frequently with colleagues at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine and the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“As environmental toxicologists, we seek to understand how environmental contaminants may impact aquatic ecosystems, and how these impacts may influence the health of both aquatic organisms and humans,” said Tara Sabo-Attwood, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of environmental and global health. “So if we observe health effects on aquatic critters, then it is likely that people are being exposed as well and could be at risk for health effects. Or, if aquatic organisms, such as fish, are contaminated and we eat those fish, then people are exposed that way. The aquatic environment serves a vital role in ecosystem and human health.”

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Jill Pease April 20, 2023