Human health & the environment By Taylor Koshel
Environmental Contaminants • Environmental contaminants are substances that, when accidentally or deliberately introduced into the environment, may have the potential to harm people, wildlife and plants. • Dioxins and furans are highly persistent compounds with a strong affinity for sediments, all humans in Canada are exposed to some level of these substances but large exposures can lead to carious health problems.
Air Pollution • The health effects caused by air pollutants may range from biochemical and physiological changes to difficulty breathing, coughing and aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiac conditions. • These effects can result in increased medication use, increased doctor or emergency room visits, more hospital admissions and even premature death.
Radioactive natural artificial • A small amount of cosmic radiation coming from the sun and outer space will reach earths surface. • Radon is produced from decay of uranium and thorium and is able to move from the ground into the air we breath. • Radiation is released to the environment during operation of nuclear reactors and supporting facilities such as mines, mills and fuel fabrication plants. • Radiation is generated from or for nuclear medicine, consumer products, military and industrial applications and nuclear waste management
Environmental Factors Affecting Health Positive negative • Sources of nutrition (eg. Farming and fishing). • Water (eg. drinking, cooking). • Air quality. • Ozone layer (eg. protection from UV rays). • Sanitation / waste recycling and disposal. • Environmental disruptions(eg. floods, droughts, storms, fires, earthquakes, volcanoes). • Air quality(eg. pollution leading to respiratory diseases or cancers).
Polution Effects on Humans Air pollution Water Pollution • Reduced lung functioning. • Irritation of eyes, nose, mouth and throat. • Asthma attacks. • Respiratory symptoms such as coughing and wheezing . • Increased respiratory disease such as bronchitis. • Disruption of endocrine, reproductive and immune systems. • Cardiovascular problems • Cancer • Premature death • Waterborne diseases caused by polluted drinking water: • Typhoid. • Hookworm. • Waterborne diseases caused by polluted beach water: • Rashes, ear ache, pink eye. • Respiratory infections . • Hepatitis, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach aches.
Who are Vulnerable to the Effects of Environmental Factors? • Groups which develop increased sensitivity include the aged, those with cardio-respiratory disease or diabetes, those who are exposed to other toxic materials that add to or interact with air pollutants and those who are socioeconomically deprived. • Also others include children, pregnant women, impoverished populations, people with chronic conditions outdoor workers, and those in coastal zones.
Legislative Measures in Canada to Reduce Air Pollution • Where air pollution is concerned, the federal government exercises jurisdiction under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), particularly Part V, International Air Pollution, to prevent the formation of the main components of smog: tropospheric ozone, sulphate’s, and particulate. The House of Commons is now considering Bill C-32, proposing amendments to CEPA. If Bill C-32 is adopted, Part V will become Division 6, and a number of new sections, including a Division on Vehicle, Engine and Equipment Emissions, will be included in the legislation.