Answers for “Environmental Change and Health”
1- In 1952, 4000 excess deaths occurred due to a case of severe air pollution.
(That is what mentioned in your chapter).
Background information: In December 1952, there was a large amount of
coal being burnt (it was winter), resulting in a lot of smoke emitted into the
air from chimneys. There was very little wind and the air was moist. The
combination of these factors resulted in the formation of a very dense smog
due to temperature inversion: the air near the ground is usually warmer but at
night it cools down. Usually, the sun in the morning breaks the inversion but
the smog was so thick that it persisted for 5 days! The smog containing high
levels of air pollutants caused many health related diseases as the smog was
concentrated at a very low elevation people were breathing it.
2- Minimata disease was caused by eating fish contaminated with methyl-
mercury which is very toxic, released into Minimata Bay by as industrial
wastewater. Health concerns consist of brain and kidney damage, loss of
vision and impaired cerebral function.
3- The “itai-itai-byo” or “ouch-ouch” disease refers to the incident of rice
contamination by cadmium which occurred in Jintsu river, northern Japan in
the 1950s. Consuming rice with high cadmium levels resulted in severe bone
pain and sometimes disintegration and bone fracturing, added to fatal kidney
failure and hypertension.
4- In the middle of the 1960s, the Hudson river water quality was degrading
at a very fast rate and the river itself was drying up. Several polluting sources
were affecting the river, of which municipal raw sewage, discharged industrial
paint and oil as well as very warm waters dumped from a nuclear power plant.
The concerned fishermen gathered however and raised complaints which
were fruitful. In the 1990s, the Hudson River water quality had completely
recovered and allowed for very high fish production.
5- The Love Canal episode consists of a land first owned by a chemical
company (Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corp.) in the 1950s. The latter
dumped a large amount of chemical wastes (23,000 tones) into a landfill in
Love Canal. After covering the landfill, the land was sold and on it was built a
playground. In 1977, thick fluids started appearing on the ground near the
canal and simultaneously, children in the area were found to suffer f