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Environmental Science
Jovan Stefanovic

Week 1 – Lecture 1 – Chapter 1 What is environmental health? - According to the WHO: o “In its broadest sense, environmental health comprises those aspects of human health, disease and injuries that are determined or influenced by factors in the environment.” o “This includes the study of both the direct and the indirect pathological effects of various agents: o We’ve changed the environment through various human activities. Why? – Humans want life satisfaction even if it means to go beyond boundaries.  Chemical (in water, air, soil, food) –  Atmosphere: CO2 (30% increase since the industrial revolution), CFC, Sulfur and Nitrogen (acid rain), Methane (60% increase)  Biological (Bacteria, viruses, parasites, allergens, animals such as bees and poisonous snakes – (more freshwater is used)  Geosphere (geo=land): 1/3 to 1/2 of the land surface has been transformed by human action – mostly through mining.  Biosphere (bio=life): ¼ of the bird population is now extinct (same goes to amphibians) – mostly d/t cutting and clearing forests.  Physical – (radiation, fire, tornado, hurricane, volcanic eruption, earthquake)  Social - (Unsafe working conditions, poor diet, drugs, drinking, driving, poverty, smoking) - (housing, urban development, land use, transportation)  Industrialization – greater than population growth – d/t fossil fuels, automobile industry, synthetic materials – higher population = more need for materials and production  Industrialization and Population (Overpopulation and Overconsumption) determines environmental transformation – main driving forces of environmental degradation. - The declining health of other organisms is the clearest indicator of environmental threats to human health o Frogs – decrease in numbers – decreased reproduction and bad health  No single factor is responsible:  Increase UV (thinning of stratospheric ozone)  Traces of toxic chemicals  Infections (fungi and bacteria)  Predators (foreign introduced) Environmental Health - Environmental factors are responsible for 25 % of all preventable diseases – however scientists today argue the relevance or relationship between the environment and health as it is difficult to assess. - In developing countries diarrhea and respiratory infections are heading the list - Protecting the environment has been a mainstay of public health practices since 1878 - Rich & Poor o Poverty reflects the imbalance between population and resources.  Poor people are forced to migrate to dangerous steeper lands that are often least productive and ecologically fragile.  They often farm on steep slopes and are living in areas threatened by drought and flood.  Their need for survival (rich as well) causes deforestation, increase in soil erosion, mud slides, etc. reduces agricultural productivity – this also changes the environment leading to health risks. - African Americans & Hispanic & Whites o African American, Hispanic and low income populations have been found to have hospitalization and death
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