Final Exam Study Guide

61 Pages

Environmental Science
Course Code
Jovan Stefanovic

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Environmental Health Threats Your environment is your health (but not the only factor influencing your health) What is environmental health? (1) According to the WHO: 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. What is environmental health? (2) According to the WHO: This includes the study of both the direct and the indirect pathological effects of various: o chemical o biological o social agents (housing, urban development, land use, transportation) o physical Types of hazard Chemical hazards (chemicals in air, water, soil and food) Biological hazards (bacteria, viruses, parasites, allergens, animals such as bees and poisonous snacks) Cultural (social) hazards (unsafe working conditions, poor diet, drugs, drinking, driving, poverty) Physical hazards (radiation, fire, tornado, hurricane, volcanic eruption, earthquake) Chemical hazard, Biological hazard, Cultural (social) hazard, Physical hazard What is the environment? Environment is everything that affects a living organism Effect of environment on human health is so great o Air o Water o Soil o Manmade environment (Created by society) Environmental crisis: Human alteration of Earth Atmosphere:CO2 increased 30% since the beginning of the Industrial revolution Geosphere: 1/3 to 1/2 of the land surface has been transformed by human action Biosphere, Industrialization, Overpopulation: overconsumption The declining health of other organisms is the clearest indicator of environmental threats to human health No single factor is responsible: Increase UV Traces of toxic chemicals Infections (fungi and bacteria) Predators Environmental health Environmental factors responsible for 25 % of all preventable diseases Diarrhea and respiratory infections heading the list Very difficult to assess Protecting the environment has been a mainstay of public health practices since 1878 Reach & poor African Americans & Hispanic & Whites Developed & developing countries Percent of African American, Hispanic and White Populations Living in Air-Quality Non-Attainment Areas, 1992. Pollutant African Americans Hispanic Whites Particulates 16.5 34.0 14.7 Carbon monoxide 46.0 57.1 33.6 Ozone 62.2 71.2 52.5 Sulfur dioxide 12.1 5.7 7.0 Lead 9.2 18.5 6.0 New York City: African American, Hispanic and low income populations have been found to have hospitalization and death rate from asthma 3-5 times higher than those for all New York City residence Video Everyday carcinogens: Acting for Prevention in the Face of Scientific Featured by Dr. Sandra Steingraber Airborne Hazards and Human Health Global problem, used to be local problem but now is a global problem from continent to continent There is no place that is perfectly safe from pollution In industrialized areas, concentration of pollution is higher Case study 1: London smog, 1952 represents landmark for air pollution The revolution and solution with air pollution started In beginning of December in 1952, the air was steady and cold So they need extensive heating in their homes for a long time The source of energy at that time almost exclusively was the coal Coal contains a lot of sulphur, when burning the coal, sulphur is released in sulphuric gas There was no wind to distribute the sulphuric gases and evacuate matter (smoke) to distribute it further, gas was stagnant So after a couple of days, everything combined with industries with same gases, and with the weather, it resulted in very thick smoke What the people felt at first felt burning sensation in their throat, had difficulty to breathe and would choke During this ten days, about 4000 people died from this, many got poisoned, got sick, young children, people with history of asthma and chronic diseases suffered most The disease was resolved by itself, no one did anything about it The wind started blowing and distributed the pollutants from the area Why it was a landmark was because the British government started investing money into sulphur in solving this city It was not just a landmark for the British, but It was also a landmark for other parts of the world A man guides a London bus through thick fog with a flaming torch during the 1952 Great Smog The smog was the result of coal burning The Relationship Between Smoke And Sulfur Dioxide Pollution And Deaths During The Great London Smog, December 1952, Source: Wilkins, 1954 The number of deaths is directly proportional to the level of sulphur dioxide and smog The two things to be blamed for the deaths was smoke and sulphur dioxide Figure shows the average smoke and sulphur dioxide levels for 12 London sites and the relationship with deaths recorded during the smog period in December 1952. The peak in the number of deaths coincided with the peak in both smoke and sulphur dioxide pollution levels. Case study 2: Indonesian Fires, 1997 o In this part of the world, it was a common practice to burn tropical forest in big areas, and after the forest is burned, the area is converted into cultural life for a number of years o Usually the burning is done every year before the rain o 1997 was different because it was a relatively hot, dry seasonthe burn prolonged o At one point, the huge extremely hot area was burning at once, the area was the approximately the size of United States o Was not just in Indonesia but was worldwide o In 1998, a similar event happened with a smaller proportion o This significantly impacted the air quality all around the world o Pollution in Canada, many cities are quite badly polluted, even the government invests a lot of money in trying to solve the problem, we still have a problem o We see improvements, but problems still persist e.g. Hamilton o Fire damage classification of the 1997-1998 fires in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, based on ERS-SAR images. o Smoke over Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia, photographed by the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Smoke from fires set to clear land for agriculture in Indonesia at one time in 1997 blanketed an area larger than the continental United States. Airborne Hazards Outdoor air pollution Indoor air pollution Outdoor air pollution Normally all sources can be divided by human sources and natural sources In the air, when primary air pollutants change, they form acids and salts (secondary particulates) Human sources stationary o When human sources are present, the nature cannot cope with it o E.g. industries Human sources mobile o Different types of vehicles Natural sources Health effects of Outdoor Air Pollution The effects depend on the dose or concentration Primary effects: o Toxic poisoning o Cancer results after long period of time of exposure o Birth defects o Eye irritation watery eyes, red, itchy, burning sensation in the eyes o Irritation of the respiratory system burning of lungs o Increased susceptibility to heart disease o Aggravation of chronic diseases such as asthma and emphysema Seven Common Outdoor Air Pollutants
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