Environmental Effects on Public Health: An Economic Perspective
The environment can affect human health; a less widely known fact is that promoting Relationships between human health and the environment raise many. No doubt many of the ways we harm our environment come back to haunt us in Given the link between environmental problems and human health, more of us. Relationship between Environment and Human Health The factors, which affect human health and cause disease, can be dividing into two categories.
In many cases, they may therefore be the real sources of variation being considered when distance is used as a proxy for exposure around point industrial sources in epidemiological studies.
Emissions to surface water, groundwater and soil Releases to other media, such as surface waters, groundwaters and soil, also occur through a range of processes. Deliberate discharge, spillage e. Legal limits for discharges to streams are set for many industries, aimed at keeping levels of contamination within accepted limits. Illegal discharges, or accidental spillage, however, sometimes occur and accounted for the majority of reported surface water pollution incidents in the UK infor which the cause is known Dumping both legally in landfill sites and illegally represents a major source of emission of solid wastes, though final release into the wider environment may only occur when these materials decompose or break up.
Landfill sites may thus be responsible for emissions of a wide range of pollutants, via different pathways, especially when these sites are inadequately sealed or poorly maintained The contribution of informal and illegal dumping to environmental pollution is, inevitably, only poorly known. Environmental fate Once released into the environment, pollutants may be transported via many different processes and pathways, often moving from one medium to another, and undergoing a wide range of modifications in the process.
Chemical reactions, physical abrasion, sorting by size or mass and deposition all change the composition of the pollutants and alter the pollution mix. In general, these processes tend to result in some degree of distance-decay in environmental concentrations, if only because the opportunity for dilution, decomposition and deposition increases with increasing distance of transport.
It is largely on this basis that distance is often used as a surrogate for exposure in many epidemiological studies. The realities of environmental patterns of pollution are, however, often much more complex than these simple distance-based models imply. They also vary greatly between different pollutants and environmental media, because of the different transportational behaviours that are involved.
In addition, dispersion processes and resulting pollution concentration fields may vary substantially depending on the prevailing e. Patterns of atmospheric dispersion, for example, differ not only in relation to windspeed and direction but also atmospheric stability e.
Movement of many pollutants through soils occurs mainly as mass flow in water passing through larger pore spaces and fissures: Gaseous pollutants may follow similar preferred pathways. Releases from landfill sites may thus travel relatively long distances in the soil or bedrock, before emerging at the surface, where they can cause local hazards including explosions Radon shows the same discrete and complex pattern, such that concentrations may vary by orders of magnitude from one home to another in the same district 15, Modelling these locally variable pathways poses severe challenges.
To a large extent, the increased opportunity for mixing means that dispersion of pollutants in surface and groundwaters is more regular, leading to more uniform patterns of contamination, at regional scales.
In developed countries, also, considerable water mixing often occurs during treatment and distribution, so that water quality is relatively uniform across large areas and populations.
Local variations may occur, however, because of contamination within the distribution system or differences in the length of the network, and thus in the time available for contamination and decomposition of the disinfectants incorporated at treatment At the local level, USDA provides technical assistance to help private landowners with conservation practices in order to promote sustainable development.
Sustainability recognizes that farmers can be productive and profitable and still be wise stewards of their lands and the environment. Sustainability recognizes that farmers can be productive and profitable while being wise stewards of their land and the environment. In earlyPresident Clinton proposed a conservation security program to further strengthen the economic—environmental linkage.
By providing direct stewardship payments to farmers with comprehensive conservation plans, the program highlights the voluntary and locally led aspect of private land conservation efforts.
Study Session 1 Human Interactions with the Environment: View as single page
This is far bigger than just a farm issue. Society benefits from a healthy environment and the plentiful food that it produces. One key provision of the program boosts funds to help producers with nutrient management. For example, improperly managed animal feeding operations can contribute to water pollution, outbreaks such as Pfiesteria in the Chesapeake watershed, or excessive runoff from dairy operations.
For agriculture, greenhouse gas emissions present some challenges and perhaps some opportunities.
Global Change Research Program has reported that the production of major crops could very likely increase with global warming, but there might also be a 20 percent increase in the use of pesticides, with an environmental impact that could be substantial. By sequestering carbon in agricultural soils, we could achieve more than just pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and cutting the rate of global warming, said Rominger.
While considering the impact of agricultural systems on global climate change, we must also narrow the focus to the connection between microbiological pathogens and food safety.
Study Session 1 Human Interactions with the Environment
It is estimated that 5, people die and 76 million get sick each year from foodborne illnesses. Science and technology are the first line of defense against future food safety challenges, for example, via Foodnet and Pulsenet.
However, certain pathogens and other microbes are evolving resistance on a global scale to traditional control methods, including antibiotics. While food safety is a key aspect of a food-secure world, it is just part of the definition. There can be no security if food is not available and abundant and if nutritional needs are not met. It is as central to the total environmental health connection as conservation measures on the farm and pathogens under the microscope.
Human Health Risk Assessment
However, only in recent years have science and technology provided us with ways to measure the correlation between a healthy environment and a healthy body. The natural environment in which we spend our days and the national and international community in which environmental protections must be negotiated provide both a local and a global perspective by which to consider environmental health.
Although there clearly is an interdependence between public health and the environment, workshop participants noted that we have limited resources for identifying and understanding challenges to health or implementing intervention strategies.
Some of the higher-order issues, such as sustainability, must be addressed if we are to achieve better health, noted Rafe Pomerance.
Another central quandary is the reduction and disposition of waste. We cannot continue to have consumption that outweighs the production capacity of our ecosystems, and we cannot continue to produce waste at a rate that outweighs our ability to assimilate it back into the ecosystems without negative impacts, said William McDonough.
A second challenge is to develop baseline data on different environmental stressors. Impacts of a poor environment on public health can be direct or indirect.
Speakers noted that we have tended historically to focus on the direct effects of pollution on public health—for example, toxicity or adverse health effects—and less on the bioindicators that can measure direct and indirect effects through impacts on ecological systems.
Is there a level below which some chemicals don't pose a human health risk? What environmental stressors are people exposed to and at what levels and for how long? Are some people more likely to be susceptible to environmental stressors because of factors such as age, genetics, pre-existing health conditions, ethnic practices, gender, etc.?
Are some people more likely to be exposed to environmental stressors because of factors such as where they work, where they play, what they like to eat, etc.? The answers to these types of questions helps decision makers, whether they are parents or public officials, understand the possible human health risks from environmental media.
Top of Page Almost years ago Paracelsus wrote: To discuss children's health, we first would like to mention the concept of "life stages," since a person's age can influence how susceptible they are to the health risks posed by pollutants in the environment.
Children and the elderly are often most at increased risk.