ENV232H5 Notes Lecture 1

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Patricia Houston

EESA Notes Lecture 1a  Your environment is your health, but not the only factor influencing your health.  Genetic material can influence our health; influences what we are immune and weak to.  What is environmental health? According to WHO (World Health Organization): in the broadest sense, environmental health comprise those aspects of human health, diseases and injuries that are determined or influenced by factors in the environment.  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)  physical  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 HI
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