The truth is, it’s quite impossible to pin down precisely the effects the environment has on human health. Health issues connected to the environment are complex and caused by an array of factors, and most times influenced by the individual’s genes and their predisposition to develop a condition or disease (doctors call it genetic susceptibility). At this point, it’s common knowledge that the health issues, environmental factors trigger, are also connected to economic, biological and physical factors.
The water you drink, the air you breathe, the food you eat, the place where you live and work, and many other similar factors contribute to your health issues, and often disturb how your body functions. Research has identified a series of potential environmental triggers that can cause health issues. Let’s discover the list!
Potential sources of health problems
Air pollution – air pollution is an environmental issue the entire planet is facing. Air pollution results from manmade and natural substances that get into the ozone layer and disrupt its natural state. (From cigarette smoke to wildfire exhaust, everything makes the air more difficult to breathe.)
Flame retardants – you use hundreds of chemicals daily in your household and at work (from cleaning products to electronics and clothes) that can also prevent the spread of fire. The bad thing is they are also harmful to your health.
Pesticides – these chemicals are the easiest way to control, repel or kill fungi, weeds, or pests. But once they get into the soil, air, and water, they can affect your health.
Smoke – you keep hearing smoking is bad for you, but you’re ok with risking your life for your vice. Unfortunately, you do more than risking your life because a single cigarette contains hundreds of chemicals like lead, formaldehyde and arsenic, and when you smoke it, the exhaust it releases affects other people’s health too.
Lead – living in an old house, touching contaminated water or soil, or using contaminated pottery can expose you to this harmful metal.
Perfluorinated chemicals – they can prevent friction and many companies use them to create products resistant to grease, water or stains, but they can be harmful to the human health when improperly handled.
Nanomaterials – as you can guess, tiny particles are dangerous because they can enter your body and wreak havoc. At present, nanomaterials are used to build devices, structures and materials and you’re daily exposed to their harmful effects.
To prevent these materials from affecting your health, learn more about the solutions companies provide to individuals and businesses that want to recycle and prevent waste from making the planet a dangerous place to live in.
How can the above environmental issues can trigger health problems?
Scientists and doctors think that many of the environmental issues the world is experiencing can cause health issues like asthma, Parkinson’s disease, or cancer. Not only the fact that you expose yourself to these harmful elements matters, but also that you are more predisposed to certain medical problems than other people. An environmental threat on your health can trigger a chain of biological reactions in your body, that disrupt the normal processes. Most times the biological events environmental issues cause are bad, and their extent depends on your individual circumstances and genes.
Some studies show that obesity is related to exposure to a range of chemicals but also to genes. However, how active an individual is daily, what they eat, and their lifestyle can also impact their weight. Factors like money, living environment, and social groups can trigger weight issues because when an individual doesn’t afford healthy food, lacks access to parks and fitness centres, or is bullied, they can ignore their BMI and use food as comfort.
Exposure to the above substances is bad, and environmental issues can trigger many health issues, but people can experience the same problems when they don’t get enough of something good. For example, research states that autism can be a result of exposure to pesticides, but also the consequences of not getting enough folic acid during pregnancy. All women should get folic acid during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in babies, but some neglect their doctor’s advice.
What are the most dangerous environmental health threats you’re exposed to?
From air pollution to mosquito-borne conditions and heatwaves, many environmental threats pose a danger to your health.
People often overlook the connection between public health and planet, but the humankind and all other animals dully depend on the environment. Pollution and climate change affect the entire world and some medical issues are on the rise because of it.
Drug-resistant infections – irresponsible over-prescription of antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicine has led to growing resistance to a large number of medicines. Antimicrobial medicine is one of the greatest discoveries, but because practicians had overprescribed them when the medical conditions didn’t require it, or people overused them, their ability to treat conditions has decreased. Predictions reveal that by 2050 the super bacteria caused by these bad practices can lead to over 10 million deaths annually.
Mosquito-borne diseases – even if it may sound like a movie script, mosquitoes are apex predators for the humankind. This bug is estimated to have killed half of all humans who ever lived on the planet. They don’t kill directly, but they can infect people with a range of life-threatening conditions like zika, malaria or dengue. Over 2.7 million people die because of malaria annually, and hundreds of millions get sick because of the virus.
Heatwaves – you may not think a heatwave affects your life because it arrives suddenly and all you can think is how to chill a little. but the more time you spend outdoors in a heatwave, the more health issues you can experience. Severe heat causes heat strokes, heat exhaustion, and dehydration. During heat waves hundreds or thousands of people can die in the urban areas.
With so many health problems related to the environmental issues the planet is facing, it’s the moment people to change their lifestyles and look for solutions to limit their impact.