Environmental health is concerned with how both the natural and built environment affect human health by looking at the impact of physical, chemical and biological factors external to humans. Those working in Environmental health fields are concerned with preventing diseases or other illnesses by assessing and controlling environmental factors that pose a threat to human health whether it involves air quality, natural disasters, radiation, water quality, UV exposure, indoor air pollutants, climate change, healthy communities and work environments, or the effects of toxic substances. Environmental health can also refer to ecosystem status or function. Chemicals, diseases, and invasive species threaten to alter wildlife and plant populations, which in turn may impact ecosystem function. Maintaining health, whether ecosystem or human arguably presents one of the greatest challenges of the day, in general maintaining optimal ecosystem function is essential for continued survival of all species including humans.
What is under your kitchen sink, in your garage, in your bathroom, and on the shelves in your laundry room?
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CellsLast Updated on 2014-06-30 14:15:10
Cells are the smallest component of the body that can perform all of the basic life functions. Each cell performs specialized functions and plays a role in the maintenance of homeostasis. While each cell is an independent entity, it is highly affected by damage to neighboring cells. These various cell types combine to form tissues, which are basically collections of specialized cells that perform a relatively limited number of functions specific to that type of tissue. The human body is made up of several trillion cells; these cells are of various types, which can differ greatly in size, appearance and function.
While there are approximately 200 types of cells, they all have similar features: cell membrane, cytoplasm, organelles, and nucleus. The only exception is that the mature red blood cell does not contain a nucleus. In general, toxins can injure any of the components of... More »
Healthy Community DesignLast Updated on 2014-06-29 19:10:40The way we design and build our communities can affect our physical and mental health. Healthy community design integrates evidence-based health strategies into community planning, transportation, and land-use decisions.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that healthy community design can improve people’s health by:
Increasing physical activity;
Increasing access to healthy food;
Improving air and water quality;
Minimizing the effects of climate change;
Decreasing mental health stresses;
Strengthening the social fabric of a community; and
Providing fair access to livelihood, education, and resources.
According to the World Health Organization, health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of infirmity. A healthy community as described by the U.S. Department of Health and... More »
PollutionLast Updated on 2014-06-28 18:51:13Pollution is environmental contamination that results in harm or death to living organisms. Most pollution is in the form of chemical additions to air, water or soil; however, in modern times starting in the mid-twentieth century noise and light have been considered as pollution sources. Most pollution is man-made, with natural fluctuations in atmospheric composition, surface water bodies and soil considered temporal gyrations in the Earth's natural history. The chief driver of pollution is the massive growth in human population, which induces the proximate causes of intensive agriculture and extraordinary industrial output. The United Nations and the Blacksmith Institute are two prominent organisations that tabulate locales of the greatest pollution intensity; while their listings do not correspond precisely, the overlap countries that both entities agree are the worst polluted... More »
Lifestyle, technology and CO2 emissions in ChinaLast Updated on 2014-06-28 17:59:40
China as the world’s largest developing country and the most populous country has achieved notable success in developing their economy with approximate 10 percent average annual growth of GDP over the last two decades [1-3]. Large sections of the population have been experiencing a transition from ‘poverty’ to ‘adequate food and clothing’; today growing parts of the population are getting closer to ‘well to do’ lifestyles . However, the rapid growth of the economy has not only lead to dramatic changes of wealth and people’s lifestyle, but has also caused a huge amount of resources and energy consumption and associated CO2 and other emissions creating serious environmental problems on both local, regional and global scales [4-6]. Between 1990 and 2004 China’s total energy consumption has grown 5.0% annually from... More »
PfiesteriaLast Updated on 2014-06-15 18:34:27This article was researched and written by a student at Mount Holyoke College participating in the Encyclopedia of Earth's (EoE) Student Science Communication Project. The project encourages students in undergraduate and graduate programs to write about timely scientific issues under close faculty guidance. All articles have been reviewed by internal EoE editors, and by independent experts on each topic.
Algal blooms were once considered solely a natural phenomenon in coastal ecosystems. But, in recent years, the frequency and severity of algal blooms have increased dramatically, due primarily to anthropogenic activities that create agricultural and sewage runoff resulting in nutrient loading in coastal ecosystems. This runoff and nutrient loading stimulates the growth of many algal species. Algal blooms that have harmful implications to the surrounding environment and to human... More »
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