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Health: The Basics

Fifth Canadian Edition

Chapter 13

Environmental Health: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

Copyright 2011 Pearson Canada Inc.

Overpopulation
2010 world population estimate 6.9 billion
Prediction, 2050 = 9.2 billion (developing world)

Increase competition for the earths resources


North Americans consume more energy and raw materials per person than any other (worldwide)

Canadians changing habits


Avoid 25% of all preventable diseases worldwide
13 million deaths annually Water & air pollution = 4 million deaths, children under 5 Promoting safe household water storage, better hygiene, and cleaner & safer fuels

Figure 13.1: Major Pathways of Human Exposure to Environmental Contaminants

Air Pollution
Sources of Air Pollution
Sulphur Dioxide, Particulates, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ozone, Lead, Hydrocarbons

Photochemical Smog
Mix of particulates, gases (ozone pollution) In areas of temperature inversion May result in: difficulty breathing, burning eyes, headaches, and nausea

Air Pollution
Acid Rain
Sources of Acid Rain - burning fossil fuels Effects of Acid Rain
respiratory problems

leaching of metals out of the soil; crop damage


damage to environmental structures

Indoor Air Pollution


Wood Stove Smoke, Furnaces, Asbestos, Passive Smoke, Formaldehyde, Radon, Household Chemicals

Air Pollution
Ozone Layer Depletion Ozone: oxygen interacts with sunlight Protective membrane-like layer in earths atmosphere Depletion by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) Global Warming Burning fossil fuels (Greenhouse gases) Economically disruptive, costly change of modern society

Reducing Air Pollution


Need to change energy, industry, and transportation Encourage use of renewable resources such as solar, wind, and water power

Figure 13.2: This diagram shows the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer

Water Pollution
75% of the earth is covered with water

Water Contamination
Point source: specific entry point Non-point source: seep into waterways
Septic Systems, Landfills, Gasoline and Petroleum Products, Dioxins

Chemical Contaminants
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); Pesticides; Trihalomethanes (THMs); Lead

Figure 13.4: Sources of Groundwater Contamination

Noise Pollution
Loud noises: common, source of physical & mental distress Short-term exposure: reduces productivity, concentration, attention span, and may affect health Symptoms of noise distress: sleep disturbance, headaches and tension, and impacts on physical health

Prevent hearing loss:


Play stereos at reasonable levels Wear earplugs for power equipment Establish barriers to noise

Land Pollution
Solid Waste
Reduce, reuse, recycle 90% of garbage could be reused or recycled

Hazardous Waste
Solid waste that poses a hazard to humans or the environment The Canadian Environmental Protection Agency program to deal with hazardous wastes
elimination or reduction

Radiation
Radioactive: emits high-energy particles from the nuclei (alpha & beta particles, gamma rays)

Ionizing Radiation
unavoidable; can damage DNA

natural and human-made

Nuclear Power Plants


Less than 1% of total radiation exposure
Proponents: safe and efficient

Concerns: nuclear waste, meltdown

Food Quality
Accounts for 80-95% of intake of the most persistent toxic contaminants Air contributes 10-15% and drinking water contributes very little Canadas food: some of the safest in the world

Concerns about microbial and environmental contamination in food


Individuals can take steps to reduce risk