Health and the Environment

Think of your environment as the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the food you eat.
There is a link between the environment and the health of individuals and communities. The environment can be affected by people.

ENVIRONMENTAL SPORTS HEALTH IS A DISCIPLINE WHICH focuses on the inter-relationships of people and their environment. It promotes human health and well-being and fosters a healthy environment.


An environmental health risk is any substance that can cause an adverse health event. This can include any external factors, such as biological, chemical, and physical. These hazards can be either natural or human-made.


Environmental contaminants Toxic waste Radiation Disease-causing microorganisms, plants Pesticides Chemicals in consumer goods Extreme temperatures and weather events. Air and water pollution are the most prevalent environmental health hazards.


ENVIRONMENTAL Health Practitioners Aim to Reduce Environmental Hazards and Their Adverse Health Effects Through: Research, Guidelines, Standards, and Recommendations Implementing programs and interventions to address environmental health problems.

ENVIRONMENTAL Health Practices include: Identifying and monitoring environmental hazards and their health effects, Monitoring individuals’ exposure to hazards, Preventing or lessening them, and researching possible health effects. Treating any health effects.

ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS ON HUMAN HEALTH – ENVIRONMENTAL DANGERS & HEALTH EFFECTS ENVIRONMENTAL hazards can affect human health in many ways. These include contributing to chronic illnesses such as cancer and acute conditions like heat exhaustion.

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH CAN NOT BE CONTROLLED. There is a lot of information missing about the impact of the environment on human and animal health. Some effects have been identified, while others are still unknown. These health effects can be either short-term (acute), or longer-term (chronic).

What is Known ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS AND HAZARDS. There are some connections between environment and health. Science has shown this. It is known that asthma attacks can be caused by poor air quality. High blood lead levels can lead to developmental disabilities in children. Heat-related illnesses are more common in vulnerable groups, such as infants and the elderly. Carbon monoxide poisoning may result from severe weather events that cause power outages.

There are many links between health and environment. However, these links have not been proven. Some health issues that are suspected to be connected to environmental problems include: Asthma and other respiratory illnesses, some cancers (i.e. the bladder, liver), neurological diseases like Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer’s disease, as well as neurological disabilities such cerebral palsy, autism, and many others. Further research is required to determine if exposure is a cause of health concern and if there are safe levels. Low-level exposures to chemicals are not known to have any impact on our health.

EXPOSURES CAN BE CHECKED AFTER being exposed to an environmental hazard. This will allow you to assess how much of the substance has entered your body. This is known as biomonitoring.
BIOMONITORING – Most biomonitoring involves measuring a small amount of a chemical (or its breakdown product, metabolite), in a sample of a person’s blood or urine.

The chemical or metabolite level in the urine or blood of a person is based on the amount that the chemical has reached their body. There are many exposure routes, including eating, drinking, breathing and touching. This number represents the amount of a chemical entered the body via all exposure pathways. It is vital to understand that being exposed to a known environmental hazard does not mean a person will have a negative health effect.

Example: CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING During extreme weather events, such as power outages and severe storms, people are more at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. People can use gas or charcoal grills indoors to heat up or cook if there is no power. They could be exposed to carbon monoxide (CO), which can be found in the air they breath.

All household members may be exposed to the gas. However, not everyone will develop CO poisoning. The risk of developing CO poisoning will depend on how much CO is being used, how long the person has been exposed, as well as individual characteristics like age and chronic health conditions. Learn more about CO poisoning. [An illustration with a DANGER! label. You can stop carbon monoxide poisoning (CO) by label.

HEALTH-ENVIRONMENT CONNECTION. UNDERSTANDING THE CONNECTION BETWEEN OUR ENVIRONMENT and HEALTH IS IMPORTANT. It is important to understand the effects of environmental hazards on public health so that we can make informed decisions about policies, education, interventions, and other measures. Let’s look closer at the relationship between pollution and health.

EXAMPLE – AIR POLLUTION & HEALTH Outdoor air pollution has been a serious public health problem since the 1950s. The programs at all levels, from local to national, have allowed us to understand the problem and find solutions. While national air quality has improved substantially since the early 1990s there are still challenges to protect public health and the environment. Particle pollution or particulate material is a collection of particles found in the air.

This includes dirt, dust, smoke and small drops of liquid. Some particles, like smoke and soot, are too large or dark to see. Others particles are so small you can’t see them. Particle pollution can be described as: PM10: Large, inhalable particles measuring 10 micrometers in diameter; PM2.5: Fine, inhalable particles measuring 2.5 micrometers. Ultrafine particles measuring less than 0.1micrometers are also included.

EXAMPLE – AIR POLLUTION & HEALTH How large is particulate material? [Illustration: Fine Particulate Matter Size Comparison. It shows a human hair measuring approximately 70 micrometers across, a grain of sand measuring 50 micrometers across, PM10 measuring less than 10 micrometers and PM2.5 measuring less than 2.5 micrometers. Sources of particulate matter.

The composition of these particles may vary depending on their location, season and whether they come from primary or secondary sources. [Illustration: Two stacked boxes marked “Primary Sources” or “Secondary Sources”. Particulate matter can be released directly by primary sources. Examples of this include forest fires, road dust and electric power plants. Secondary sources emit gases that react with water and sunlight to form particles.

Some examples include car and truck exhaust, and coal-fired power plant. Particulate matter & Health Particles greater than 10 micrometers are likely to irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Ultrafine and fine particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM 2.5) are the most serious because they can cause serious health problems. They are small enough to penetrate the deepest part of your lungs, and even your bloodstream. Health effects and particulate matter.

Being exposed to any type of particulate matter can lead to: Increased hospital stays and emergency department visits for breathing and heart issues. Exacerbation in asthma symptoms. Negative birth outcomes (e.g. Low birth weight. Decreased lung growth in kids. Lung cancer. Higher levels of particle pollution can make it more difficult for older adults to get to the hospital. Children are still developing and often spend more time engaged in high levels of activity.

Children may experience problems as their lungs or airways develop if they are exposed to particles for a prolonged time. They may develop a lower lung function and other problems later in their lives. Children are more susceptible to developing asthma than adults. The air pollution can cause lung damage in infants, as their lungs develop even after they are born. Improvements in air quality are good for health.

Particulate matter levels can be reduced to reduce the risk of heart attacks and other heart diseases. According to 2012 data, a 10% drop in PM2.5 could prevent 376 death per year in Los Angeles County, California. This is in addition to the nearly 1,500 deaths each year in California. And, there are more than 12,700 deaths nationwide.


Epidemiologists working in environmental health… identify people with a particular illness or disease. You can measure or estimate how many people have been exposed to environmental hazards. Comparing the number of people with a health problem and their exposure to environmental hazards will help you determine how many.

Comparing the results of those who have been exposed to environmental hazards with those who have had them, you can see the same health problems. See examples of environmental epidemiology activities such as: E-cigarette study sparks attention about ecigarettes and nicotine toxicity. Colorado ED visits launch epi investigation related to synthetic marijuana. Purity First offers consumers product recalls.

Reliable Data is Essential in Public Health. Environmental causes of chronic diseases are often difficult to spot, as we have already mentioned. It is important to determine the environmental causes of chronic diseases by measuring their levels in a consistent way. This includes tracing their spread over time and space, understanding how they affect human tissue, and understanding what they can do to cause them.

Public Health Surveillance is continuous, systematic and continuous collection, analysis and interpretation of data related to health that are needed for the planning, implementation, evaluation and evaluation public health practice. There are many data types that are valuable and relevant to environmental public-health practice. Click on a source to find out more. Environmental Hazard Data Exposure Data Health Data Population Data


The main types and types of hazards data that systems include are: Site-specific: Data from observations, samples, inspection reports, source/compliance test results, or observations made at a site. Modeling: A mathematical process that makes predictions, estimates, and simulations about a system. To estimate the levels of ozone or particulate matter in the atmosphere, models can be used. These data can be applied to areas without air quality monitoring systems or used to fill in data gaps that monitors might not have. Monitoring and testing of the environment.

For the determination of pollutant levels, data is collected at fixed points (e.g., air monitor stations, routine groundwater sampling and monitoring wells). Facility: Every facility that releases pollutants into the atmosphere must keep detailed records and notify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. From the publicly available reports and internal records, these facilities can generate extensive hazard information.


A wealth of data exists on almost all health conditions. These include chronic and acute illnesses, injuries, and disabilities. These data can be gathered from several sources, such as the census, electronic medical record, surveillance systems, vital statistics, and national surveys.

Some data is collected by state agencies, while others are collected by federal agencies. It can be difficult to compare data from different agencies because they may not have been collected or analyzed in the same way. Privacy concerns may prevent agencies sharing data, particularly health data. Health Data Sources: Census Demographics, socioeconomics National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys NHANES, Youth Risk Behavior Surveys YRBS Surveillance systems (state and nation) Disease registries Vital statistics Births, Deaths.

EXPOSURE DATA Biomonitoring helps to measure the effect of environmental exposure on individuals. Biomonitoring involves measuring the amount or breakdown product of a chemical in a small sample from a person’s blood, urine, or saliva. Hair, nails, saliva, breast milk, saliva and adipose tissue can also be used for biomonitoring. Sources of Biomonitoring Data National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Reports National Report on Human Exposure (NHANES), Reports

POPULATION DATE Population data can help predict possible health problems, the risk of certain diseases and public health emergencies. These characteristics can be used to show how diseases may change over time and between places. The U.S. Census Bureau provides the most reliable source of population information. Demographics, Health status and socioeconomic factors are some of the population data.

ACCESSING QUALITY & COMPLETE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DATA CAN be difficult. Both the environment and health data can be separated both physically and philosophically. However, the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program has solved this problem.

BETTER INFORMATION FOR BETTER HEARING At the local, state, national and international levels, the Tracking Program utilizes a network of people, information systems, and data summaries to deliver a core set health, exposure, hazards and hazards data. This information is then analyzed, visualized, and reported on. The Tracking Network goes beyond data. It is also a community of people and resources.

ENVIRONMENTAL PUBLIC HEALTH SURVEILLANCE Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (EPHTN) is an environmental public-health surveillance system. It is an online, dynamic system of integrated health and exposure information as well as data from many national, state, or city sources.

CLIMATE CHANGE DATA WE’s Tracking Network uses data sourced from many sources in order to track the impacts of climate change. Although there are many indicators of climate change, the Tracking Network has data on extreme heat as well as flood vulnerability. Scientists work with agencies, organizations, and partners worldwide to monitor climate change and its effects on health. It is important to remember that it can be difficult to tie climate change to specific health problems.

One example is that a person suffering from a heart attack could also be suffering from other conditions unrelated to heat exposure. However, the information we use is a good starting point for tracking how climate change affects health. Climate and Health Program identifies those who may be most affected by climate changes. This program analyzes past disease spread and forecasts future trends in climate change to identify potential future health risks. While scientific understanding of the impact of climate change remains incomplete, it is imperative to prepare for any potential health threats.

COMMUNITY CHARACTERISTICS DATA A community’s characteristics may include information about the area’s natural and human-made features. This includes details such as its land cover by water or forests, and the location of public buildings and housing. Tracking Network provides data on some of these characteristics. Tracking Network data for Populations and Vulnerabilities can be combined with community characteristics data to assist in planning effective public health responses to emergencies.

Public health professionals can identify hazards, threats, and vulnerable populations by understanding the community’s characteristics. Analyze the potential effects of threats and hazards in the context of a community’s population, climates, built environments, infrastructure, resources, and other factors. Determine the potential needs for resources and public actions to reduce or prevent sickness, injury or death in case of a public safety emergency.

COMMUNITY DESIGN DATA American health issues such as obesity, motor vehicle-related injuries and physical inactivity, and breathing problems and heart disease related to air pollution all have their roots in the design of our communities. To improve the quality of life and health of residents, it is essential to create communities that encourage healthy choices. The Tracking Network contains data about elements of community design, including motor vehicle-related deaths, transportation options to work and commute times. These data can be useful in helping inform community design decisions.

DROUD DATA Public health officials, water and sanitation officers, as well as policy makers responsible for community planning, need to be able to identify drought trends. There are many factors that can affect how drought will impact a community. However, it is possible to use drought trend data and other indicators to help prepare for and prevent any potential health risks. The Tracking Network contains data on the severity and duration of drought in the United States.

OUTDOOR AIR QUALITY DATA Using air quality data to track air pollution can help people identify how often they are being exposed to harmful levels. These data can help policymakers or public health professionals understand the most vulnerable areas and determine how to prevent them. The Tracking Network hosts many types of air quality information.

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