Environmental health
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Environmental Health. Chapter 19. Environmental Health. Seen as encompassing all the interactions of humans with their environment and the health consequences of these interactions Our responsibility Environmental problems are complex and seem beyond the control of the individual.

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Environmental health1
Environmental Health

  • Seen as encompassing all the interactions of humans with their environment and the health consequences of these interactions

  • Our responsibility

  • Environmental problems are complex and seem beyond the control of the individual

Environmental health defined
Environmental health defined

  • Grew out of efforts to control communicable diseases

  • United States developed a huge, complex public health system designed to deal with these critical health concerns

    • Natural disaster

    • Human-made disaster

  • Basics

    • Clean water

    • Sanitary waste disposal

    • Safe food

    • Insect and rodent control

Population growth and control
Population growth and control

  • World population 6.8 Billion

    • Increasing at a rate of 75 million per year

    • 150 people every minute

  • How many people can the world hold?

    • Already exceed earth’s capacity by 20%

    • Food

    • Available land and water

    • Energy

    • Minimum acceptable standard of living

Figure 19 1 world population growth
Figure 19.1World Population growth

Factors that contribute to population growth
Factors that contribute to population growth

  • High fertility rates

  • Lack of family planning

  • Lower death rates

  • For population management to be successful, needs to be improvement of:

    • Poverty

    • Remove the pressures for having a large family

    • Improved health

    • Better education

    • Increased literacy

    • Employment opportunities for women

    • Family planning

Air quality and pollution
Air quality and pollution

  • Is not a human invention or even a new problem

  • Air quality and smog

    • Five major air pollutants:

      • Carbon monoxide (CO)

      • Sulfur dioxide (SO2)

      • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)

      • Particulate matter (PM)

      • Ground-level ozone

    • Air Quality Index (AQI) values run from 0 to 500; the higher the AQI, the greater the pollution and associated health danger

The greenhouse effect and global warming
The greenhouse effect and global warming

  • The temperature of the earth’s atmosphere depends on the balance between the amount of energy the earth absorbs from the sun and the amount of energy radiated back into space

  • Greenhouse effect

    • Reradiation causes a buildup of heat that raises the temperature of the lower atmosphere

  • Global warming

    • Concentration of greenhouse gases

  • Possible consequences

    • Increased rainfall and flooding

    • Increased mortality from heat stress

    • A poleward shift of 50-350 miles

    • Melting of the polar ice caps

Table 19 1 sources of greenhouse gases
Table 19.1 Sources of greenhouse gases

Thinning of the ozone layer

  • A fragile, invisible layer about 10-30 miles above the earth’s surface

    • Shields the planet from the sun’s hazardous ultraviolet (UV) rays

    • Being destroyed primarily by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

      • Coolants in refrigerators and air conditioners

      • Foaming agents in some rigid foam products

        • Insulation

      • Propellants in aerosol sprays

      • Solvents

Energy use and air pollution

  • U.S. is the biggest energy consumer in the world

  • 85% of our energy comes from fossil fuels

  • Oil, coal, natural gas

  • Remainder comes from nuclear power and renewable energy sources (hydroelectric, wind, solar power)

  • Two key strategies for controlling energy use

  • Conservation

  • Development of nonpolluting, renewable energy sources

  • Alternative fuels

  • Hybrid and electric vehicles

Indoor air pollution

  • Indoor air pollution

    • Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)

    • Carbon monoxide and other combustion by-products

    • Formaldehyde gas

    • Biological pollutants

    • Indoor mold

  • Some compounds trigger allergies

  • Others have been linked to cancer

Preventing air pollution

  • Preventing air pollution

    • Cut back on driving

    • Keep your car tuned up

    • Buy energy-efficient appliances

    • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent

    • Home is well-insulated

    • Plant and care for trees

    • Local waste hauler will remove ozone-depleting refrigerants from disposed refrigerators

    • Adequately ventilate your house to reduce indoor air pollution

    • Tightly seal paints, cleaning agents and other chemicals

    • Don’t smoke

    • Clean and inspect chimneys, furnaces, and other appliances

Water quality and pollution
Water quality and pollution

  • Water contamination and treatment

  • Ensuring safe, clean drinking water

  • Purifying water in a water-treatment plants

    • Screening

    • Filtration

    • Disinfection (chlorine)

    • Fluoridation

      • Reduces tooth decay by 15-40%; used for 60+ years

      • Worldwide, more than 2 million people die each year from water-related diseases

      • U.S. 1 million become ill each year and 1,000 die

Water shortages
Water shortages

  • Too rapid growth of some regions of the U.S. is taxing the local systems

  • World Health Organization

    • 1 billion people do not have safe drinking water

    • 2.6 billion do not have access to basic sanitation


  • The connection of disease and contact with contaminated water

    • Typhoid

    • Cholera

    • Hepatitis A

      • Direct contact with human feces

  • Modern day

    • Septic systems

    • Sewage-treatment systems

  • Contaminants

    • Heavy metals

    • Bacteria

    • Chemicals (mercury, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls)

Protecting the water supply
Protecting the water supply

  • Take showers, not baths

  • Don’t let the water run when not in use

  • Install sink faucet aerators

  • Install water-saver toilets

  • Fix any leaky faucets

  • Don’t pour toxic material down the drain

  • Do not flush old medications

Solid waste pollution
Solid waste Pollution

  • Average American generates 4.5 pounds of trash per day; about 1.5 pounds of this is recycled

  • What’s in our garbage?

    • Paper products make up the largest amount of household trash

    • Yard waste

    • Plastic

    • Metals

    • Glass

    • 1% of solid waste is toxic

      • Computer components

  • Disposal of solid waste

    • Sanitary landfill

    • Biodegradability

    • Recycling

    • Discarded technology: eWaste

Reducing solid waste
Reducing Solid waste

  • Buy products with the least amount of packaging

  • Buy recycled or recyclable products

  • Avoid using foam or paper cups

  • Use glass to store food

  • Recycle paper, plastic, glass, aluminum

  • Do not throw electronic items – recycle them

  • Start a compost pile

  • Stop junk mail

Chemical pollution and hazardous waste
Chemical Pollution and hazardous waste

  • 1970s – EPA established the Superfund program

    • To clean up the nation’s uncontrolled hazardous waste sites

    • EPA has completed clean-ups at hundreds of hazardous waste sites

  • Asbestos

    • Mineral-based compound

    • Asbestosis, lung cancer, and other serious lung diseases

  • Lead

  • Pesticides

  • Mercury

  • Other chemical pollutants

Preventing chemical pollution
Preventing chemical pollution

  • Read labels, and try to buy the least toxic products

  • Dispose of your household hazardous waste properly

  • Buy organic produce

  • Store pesticides or toxic household products in a locked place

  • Use a licensed exterminator

Radiation pollution
Radiation pollution

  • Radiation is energy

  • Nuclear weapons and power

    • 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S.

  • Medical uses of radiation

    • X-rays

  • Radiation in the home and workplace

    • Electromagnetic radiation

      • Microwave oven

      • Computer monitor

      • Cell phones

      • High-voltage power lines

    • Radon gas

  • Avoiding radiation

    • Only get X-rays when necessary

    • Follow government recommendations for radon testing

    • Use sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays

Noise pollution
Noise Pollution

  • Effects of loud or persistent noise in the environment

  • Greater than 80-85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss

    • Workplace

    • Sporting events

    • Rock concerts

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

    • Sets legal standards for noise in the workplace

  • Some ways to avoid exposing yourself to excessive noise

    • Wear ear protection when working around noisy machinery

    • When listening to music with headphones, keep the volume at 6 or below

    • Avoid loud music

    • Avoid exposure to painfully loud sounds above 80 decibels

Figure 19 6 the intensity of selected sounds
Figure 19.6 The intensityof selected sounds

You and your environment
You and your environment

  • Become a part of larger community actions to work for a healthier world

    • Share what you have learned

    • Join, support, or volunteer your time

    • Contact your elected representatives and communicate your concerns