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Biology LibreTexts

6: Environmental Hazards & Human Health

  • Page ID
    14651
  • learning outcomes

    • Define environmental health
    • Categorize environmental health risks
    • Explain the concept of emerging diseases
    • Summarize the principles of environmental toxicology
    • Classify environmental contaminants

    • 6.1: The Impacts of Environmental Conditions
      Our industrialized society dumps huge amounts of pollutants and toxic wastes into the earth’s biosphere without fully considering the consequences. Such actions seriously degrade the health of the earth’s ecosystems, and this degradation ultimately affects the health and well-being of human populations.
    • 6.2: Environmental Health
      Environmental health is concerned with preventing disease, death and disability by reducing exposure to adverse environmental conditions and promoting behavioral change. It focuses on the direct and indirect causes of diseases and injuries, and taps resources inside and outside the health care system to help improve health outcomes.
    • 6.3: Environmental Toxicology
      Environmental toxicology is the scientific study of the health effects associated with exposure to toxic chemicals (Table 1) occurring in the natural, work, and living environments. The term also describes the management of environmental toxins and toxicity, and the development of protections for humans and the environment.
    • 6.4: Bioremediation
      Bioremediation is a waste management technique that involves the use of organisms such as plants, bacteria, and fungi to remove or neutralize pollutants from a contaminated site. According to the United States EPA, bioremediation is a “treatment that uses naturally occurring organisms to break down hazardous substances into less toxic or non toxic substances”.
    • 6.5: Case Study - The Love Canal Disaster
      One of the most famous and important examples of groundwater pollution in the U.S. is the Love Canal tragedy in Niagara Falls, New York. It is important because the pollution disaster at Love Canal, along with similar pollution calamities at that time (Times Beach, Missouri and Valley of Drums, Kentucky), helped to create Superfund, a federal program instituted in 1980 and designed to identify and clean up the worst of the hazardous chemical waste sites in the U.S.
    • 6.S: Environmental Hazards & Human Health (Summary)

    Thumbnail image - Bayee Waqo (12) was named after her grandmother Bayee Chumee (82). When her son and his wife both died of AIDS, Chumee took on the care of their daughter who was just two years old. Some years later, after repeated illness, the young girl was diagnosed HIV positive, and she has been on treatment since. At 82, Chumee is getting too weak for all the household chores, so her granddaughter helps by collecting firewood, fetching water, making coffee and baking bread.