Marine Toxins

  • Thomas D. Waite
  • David J. Baker
  • Virginia Murray


The global climate is changing and will continue to change over the coming century. The findings of the 2012 UK Climate Change Risk Assessment, which represents a key part of governmental response to the Climate Change Act 2008, state that there are potential health benefits as well as threats from this. The risk of health problems caused by marine and freshwater pathogens is a key threat, which is projected to increase.

This chapter presents a review of the major mechanisms by which man can become envenomated by marine animals. It identifies some of the most common toxic poisoning syndromes affecting UK consumers associated with eating fish contaminated by marine toxins as well as envenomating sea creatures that may be encountered in UK waters, with a brief description of the effects of some of the most toxic of marine fauna worldwide.

The low incidence of human disease resulting from ingestion of marine toxins in the UK and Europe can in part be attributed to the monitoring programs and consequent public health actions in place. These arrangements will come under increasing pressure with redistribution of algal species and directly envenomating animals. Climate change and increasing global travel mean all must remain aware of the potential dangers to health in marine waters.


Marine biotoxin Mercury Climate change Bioaccumulation Ciguatera Tetrodotoxin Scombrotoxicity Saxitoxin Okadaic acid Domoic acid Brevetoxin Human health Minamata Climate change risk assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas D. Waite
    • 1
  • David J. Baker
    • 2
  • Virginia Murray
    • 2
  1. 1.Toxicology and Public Health, Centre for RadiationChemical and Environmental Hazards, Health Protection AgencyLondonUK
  2. 2.Centre for RadiationChemical and Environmental Hazards, Health Protection AgencyLondonUK

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