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Environmental Impacts On Health PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Environmental Impacts On Health. Dorothy Cumbey, Ph.D., RN Jerry Dell Gimarc, MA with the special help of Lill Mood, MPH, RN, Community Liaison, EQC South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

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Environmental Impacts On Health

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Environmental ImpactsOn Health

Dorothy Cumbey, Ph.D., RN

Jerry Dell Gimarc, MA

with the special help of

Lill Mood, MPH, RN,

Community Liaison, EQC

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

Developed as part of an Enhanced AHEC Community Partnership for Health Professions Workforce and Educational Reform project funded by the Health Resource and Service Administration (HRSA)


  • Discuss environmental impacts on health

  • Describe the role of public health in responding to environmental threats

  • Identify your role as citizen and health care provider

Environmental Impactson Health

  • Much of our health improvement has come from clean water and pure air

  • Health and the environment are inextricably linked

  • New data are emerging that demonstrate this linkage

Health and the Environment Are Inextricably Linked

  • Air quality

  • Water quality

  • Soil contamination

Health Care Providers must be knowledgeable and active to

  • Relate to patient concerns

  • Communicate effectively about real concerns and fears

  • Be active as citizens in policy decisions that affect the environment

  • Understand how human health is affected

EverythingIs Connected to Everything

  • Air to water and soil

  • Water to air and soil

  • Soil to water and air

  • Soil and water to food

  • Waste has to go somewhere

  • Population pressures - especially in vulnerable areas like coast

Click for larger picture

Discussion Time

  • Identify at least 3 ways your community has been altered in recent times in a way that might affect health status

New Concerns

  • Growing number and complexity of chemicals in everyday life

  • No data on small doses of many chemicals over a long term or on vulnerable populations

  • Continuing data on health effects of small doses of some contaminants (lead)

Everything Is Connected: The Case of Lead

  • Naturally occurring

  • Used for centuries because of its malleablity and chemical properties

  • Found in air, water, soil and food

  • Has known health effects

Everything Is Connected: The Case of Lead

  • Children and other vulnerable populations are at particular risk

  • Removal of lead from gasoline has dramatically lowered children’s blood lead levels

  • Researchers are identifying impacts at smaller doses

Challenges to Minimize Impacts on Health

  • Challenges

    • Prevention

      • Education

      • Waste Minimization

      • Land Use Planning

Environmental Protection to Minimize Impacts on Health

  • Challenges

    • Prevention

    • Regulation for protection and control

      • Permitting based on environmental standards

      • Monitoring

      • Compliance and enforcement


  • Identify roles of health care providers as citizens and professionals in the community

Your Role as Citizen and Health Care Provider

  • Trusted source of information

  • Interpreter of scientific information

  • Spokesperson for citizen concerns

  • Data gatherer on community concerns

  • Leader in community mobilization

  • Evaluator of public policy with implications for health

Public Communication

  • Risk

    • Magnitude X Probability

  • Perceived Hazard

  • Outrage

    Perceived Hazard + Outrage

    = Perceived Risk

Decreases Outrage




Not memorable

Not dreaded


Increases Outrage

Involuntary (Coerced)

Industrial (Artificial)





Sandman’s Outrage Factors

Decreases Outrage

Knowable (Detectable)

Individual controls


Morally irrelevant

Trustworthy sources

Responsive process

Increases Outrage

Unknowable (Undetectable)

Controlled by others


Morally relevant

Untrustworthy sources

Unresponsive process

Sandman’s Outrage Factors

Discuss the difference in challenge to public health when

the threat is real, but not perceived

the outrage exists but has the wrong target

Discussion Time

Resources for the Health Professional

  • National Library of Medicine (NLM)

  • NLM toxicology data bases

  • CDC

  • EPA

  • Scorecard


  • The complex environment in which we live will continue to present threats to our health and we must continue to work as a community to minimize those threats

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