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EESA10H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Smog, Asthma, Formaldehyde

Environmental Science
Course Code
Jovan Stefanovic
Study Guide

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Lecture 1: Introduction
What is environmental health?
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. This includes the study of both the direct pathological effects of
various: chemical, physical, social environment (housing, urban development, land use and transportation)
What is the environment?
Environment is everything that affect a living organism,
Effect of environment on human health is so great,
*Air, *Water, *Soil, *Manmade environment
Environmental Health
Human population and consumption
Human alteration of Earth is substantial and growing,
Protecting the environment has been a mainstay of public health practices since 1878,
Environmental factors responsible for 25 % of all preventable diseases,
Diarrhea and respiratory infections heading in the list,
Rich & poor, *African Americans & Hispanic & Whites,
Developed & developing countries
Types of Hazards
Chemical hazards (chemicals in air, water, soil and food)
Biological hazards (bacteria, viruses, parasites, allergens, animals such as bees and poisonous snakes)
Cultural (social) hazards (unsafe working conditions, poor diet, drugs, drinking, driving, poverty)
Physical hazards (radiation, fire, tornado, hurricane, volcanic eruption, and earthquake)
Lecture 2: Airborne Hazards and Human Health
Case Study 1: London Smog 1952
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the use of coal was extensive
Winter 1952: 6-10 day smog
oAir was stagnant
oAir was colder than usual
oCoal was the main eating source during the smog (soft coal releases sulphurs when burned)
oNo air circulation, low pressure, air was stagnant with sulphuric acid and particulate present
oBurning sensation in the throat, difficult tow work or go outside
o4000 people died during the 6 days, mostly people with chronic diseases (asthma) and some healthy
High amounts of sulfur dioxide and smoke were directly proportional with number of deaths
Waited for nature to raise temperature and redistribute the air
British government changed approach in coal use and started using other sources of energy
Case Study 2: Indonesian Fires, 1997
Burning the forests to clear for agriculture
Controlled by monsoon rains that extinguished the fires
Masnoon rains: 1997
Mansoons arrived late and area as huge as continental USA burned
Even air plane crashed due to extensive smoke

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OUTDOOR AIR QUALITY: Six common Air Pollutants
Health Effects of Outdoor Pollution
oParticulates and/or SO2 can irritate bronchial passages leading to severe difficulties in breathing
oFrom 1983-1993 prevalence in the US increased 34%
oThe incidence among children in Australia was one in five, a doubling of the rate in less than 20 years
oIndoor air pollution is also significant
Chronic Bronchitis
oOccurs when an excessive amount of mucus is produced in bronchi which results in a lasting cough
oSO2 and smoking is related to Chronic bronchitis
Pulmonary emphysema
oWeakening of the wall of alveoli, they become enlarged and lose their resilence
oNO2 is related to emphysema
Lung cancer, heart disease, toxic poisoning, eye irritation, birth defects: caused by exacerbated by exposure to air
Seven Common Outdoor Air Pollutants
Primary air pollutants
oParticulate matter
oCarbon monoxide
oNitrogen oxides
oSulphur oxides
oVOC (volatile organic compounds)
Secondary air pollutant
oGround level ozone
1. Particulate matter (PM)
Particles found in the air (dust, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets). Can be big or small
Vehicles, factories, construction sites, tilled fields, stone crashing, burning
Some are formed in the air
can cause serious health effects
2. Carbon monoxide
Odourless, colourless gas
Incomplete burning of carbon containing fuels
Heaters, woodstoves, gas stoves, fireplaces, water heaters, automobile exhaust, tobacco smoke
1 000 people die each year in USA as result of CO poisoning
Sometimes confused with flu or food poisoning
Fetuses, infants, elderly and people with heart and respiratory illnesses are at high risk for adverse health effects
Interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body
Worsen cardiovascular conditions, fatigue, headache, weakness, confusion, disorientation, loss of coordination,
nausea, dizziness, and death.

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Prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning
Never leave a car engine running in a shed or garage or in any enclosed space
Proper selection, installation, and maintenance of appliances
Correct use -Good ventilation -Use CO detectors
3. Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
Form in any type of combustion process
Involve in formation of ground level ozone, they dissolve in water
Form nitrate particles, acid aerosols
Contribute in formation of acid rain
Transported over long distances
Nitric acids are not that much soluble in the water, that is why they travel far in respitory air ways, that’s why they
can damage lungs more than sulfuric acids
4. Sulphur oxides (SOx)
Burning of coal and oil, extraction of metals from ore
SO2 dissolve in water vapor to form acids
Acids react with other gases and particles and form sulphates
Transported over long distances
Respiratory illnesses, aggravates existing heart and lung diseases
Sulfuric acids are mostly damaging the upper air ways
5. VOC volatile organic compounds
Look for paint that is free of VOC, less smell
They valproate at room temperature
They contribute information of photochemical smoke
Variety of organic compounds used as solvent in industry, automobiles
Hydrocarbons: methane, butane, propane
6. Lead (Pb)
Vehicles and industrial sources
Leaded gasoline
Particularly effect young children
Deposit on soil and water
Children accidentally can eat soil
1. Ozone (03) also known as “ground level ozone”
VOC + NOx + Heat + Sunlight = Ozone
Summertime pollutant, time of the day, seasonal, climate
Good in stratosphere *Bad on a ground *Transported on long distances
Lung damage (small airways)
Shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing and nausea
Irritate and damage eyes, nose, sinuses and throat
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