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ENV100Y5 (131)
Chapter 19

Chapter 19.docx

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Monika Havelka

Chapter 19: Environmental Health and Hazards • The study and practice of environmental health assesses environmental factors that influence human health and quality of life • Chemical hazards: oil spills, pesticides • Physical hazards: can arise from processes that occur naturally and pose risks to human life, health, and property • Biological hazards: interactions with organisms o viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens o Infectious disease – other species parasitize humans, fulfilling their ecological roles! -malaria o vectors = agents that transfer pathogens to hosts • Cultural hazards: arising from home, socioeconomic status, occupation, and behavioral choices o “Voluntary” vs. “involuntary” hazards! o smoking, drug use, diet, crime, mode of transportation, recreational choices • Disease is a major focus of environmental health” • Malnutrition can foster a wide variety of illnesses, as can poverty and poor hygiene • Some pathogenic microbes attack us directly and sometimes infection occurs through a vector • Infections are transported by water majority • Environmental health hazards exist indoors as well as outdoors: • Radon = toxic, radioactive gas o Colourless and undetectable without specialized kits o Causes lung cancer • Lead = heavy metal o From water going through lead pipes, lead-based paint on popular brand-name children’s toys o Damages organs; causes learning problems, behavior abnormalities, and death • PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) o Computers, TVs, plastics, furniture o Endocrine disruptors, brain and nervous system • Our perception of risk may not match reality Toxicology is the study of poisonous substances • Toxicology = the study of the effects of poisonous substances on humans and other organisms • Toxicant (toxin) = any toxic agent • Toxicity = degree of harm a toxicant can cause • depends on the combined effect of the chemical and its quantity (exposure/dose) • the concept of toxicity among chemical hazards is analogous to that of Pathogenicity or
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