EVS 1501 Lecture Notes - Exponential Growth, Kyoto Protocol, Venomous Snake

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What are some of the factors in the environment that influence our health?
o There are direct and indirect factors :
chemical (e.g. organic and inorganic)
social factors (e.g. housing, urban development, land use and transportation)
What is the environment? It is everything that affects a living organism (e.g. wolf, bird, plants)
Compartments of environment that affect human health are:
o Air
o Water
o Soil
o Manmade Developments
Environmental Health
Humans have changed and disturbed the environment in various ways
Human population and consumption of resources resulted in the alteration of Earth
substantially and growing
Some suggest 80% of the Earth’s surface has been altered by human forces
Why? Two reasons indicate the exponential growth of the human species and consumption of
resources to improve our lives (e.g. luxurious purchases)
Protecting the environment has been a mainstay of public health practices since 1878
Protecting the environment may be the best way to protect public health and reduce
environmental diseases
Most environmental diseases are preventable.
Environmental factors are responsible for 25% of all preventable diseases (e.g. diarrhea and
respiratory infections are best examples top of the list of preventable diseases in the world)
There is a big difference between a richer society and poorer society in terms of being affected
by environmental effects (i.e. poorer people are more likely to get sick from environmental
diseases over richer folk).
Different backgrounds can influence immunity against environmental diseases (e.g. in USA,
African-American and Hispanic children have higher levels of lead in their blood than Caucasian
children because of their low socioeconomic status in society)
Who pollutes more, developing or developed countries?
o Many developing countries like India and China have high amounts of pollution and thus
pollute more. Most often, they do not have the luxuries and resources to develop
alternatives which reduce the production of pollution.
o In developed countries (e.g. Western Europe, USA, Canada) are able to invest money to
reduce pollution (e.g. Kyoto protocol).
Types of Hazards
Chemical Hazards (e.g. chemicals in air, water, soil and food)
Biological Hazards (e.g. bacteria, viruses, parasites, allergens, animals such as bees and
poisonous snakes)
Cultural (social) Hazards (e.g. unsafe working conditions, poor diet, drugs, drinking, driving,
poverty); poverty is the hazard with the HIGHEST risk to our health
Physical Hazards (e.g. radiation, fire, tornado, hurricane, volcanic eruption, earthquake)
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