HLTB03H3Y: Foundations in Health
Department of Health Studies
University of Toronto at Scarborough
Instructor: Anna Walsh.
Term: Winter 2011: Wednesdays 9 a.m.-11 a.m.
Lecture Room: Room HW216.
Phone: 416- 208-2700
March 16, 2011
10. Environment, work and health
Readings: chapters 19+20 -Intranet: summary.
The view that the life-supporting capabilities of the Earth were being threatened by
increasing impacts of human activities, particularly industrial activities, has been referred
to as a neo-Malthusian perspective.
Ulrich Beck (1992) contends that we live in a "r isk society" where the unanticipated side
effects or unintended consequences and externalities of the industrialization process are
brought to the political forefront.
Studies have shown that today, virtually every living hum an being to some degree car r ies
what is known as a toxic body burden. Body burden refers to the bioa ccumulation of toxic
substances in the body.
Environmental healt h regulations specify the legally permitted amount of dangerous
chemicals that industry may dispos e of in the commons, or the amount to which people
may be exposed. These regulations are specified in various Acts such as: the Canadian
Environmental Protection Act, the Pest Control Products Act, the Food and Drugs Act,
the Hazardous Products Act, the Fertilizers Act, the Fisheries Act, and the Feeds Act, as
well as the occupational health and safety acts of various provinces. The regulations
themselves are determined through the activities of government ministries such as
Environment Canada, Health Canada, or the Pesticide Management Regulator y Agency
which is made up of experts from these two ministries, in addition to Agriculture Canada
and Natural Resources Canada. The specific regulation for each chemical (or class of
chemical) is based on the results obtained from epidemiological or toxicological risk
assessment analyses (a third method, the clinical control trial is used exclusively for
drugs, w hereas the for mer methods are used for toxic substances).