Environmental Hazard Exposure – numerous substances in the environment create risk for a variety of health problems and conditions. They include pesticides, herbicides, industrial pollutants, minerals and metals, molds and fungi, BACTERIA, viruses, radiation, sewage, garbage, biological waste, and electromagnetic fields. These substances may be naturally occurring or the consequence of human actions, such as manufacturing and agricultural processes. They may cause a wide spectrum of health conditions ranging from hypersensitivity reactions to CANCER.
|HEALTH CONDITIONS THAT MAY ARISE FROM ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD EXPOSURE|
|ALLERGIC RHINITIS||ALZHEIMER DISEASE|
|brain cancer||chronic BRONCHITIS|
|CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE (COPD)||DERMATITIS|
|LIVER CANCER||LUNG CANCER|
Often, environmental hazards may not directly cause disease but rather become added risk factors that, in aggregate with other factors or circumstances relevant to certain individuals or population groups, increase the likelihood of disease. For example, environmental chemicals may present little risk to the public overall yet confer significant risk on pregnant women. Young children are more likely than adults to experience lead poisoning due to water contamination, not only because of their smaller size but also because their bodies are still developing and cannot yet efficiently clear toxins. People who are IMMUNOCOMPROMISED are highly vulnerable to INFECTION resulting from foodborne or waterborne viruses and bacteria, whereas infection fails to gain a stronghold in people whose immune systems are healthy.
Federal, state, and local agencies oversee administration and enforcement of environmental health laws, regulations, and standards in the United States. Key among them are the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Center for Environmental Health, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Collectively, these agencies operate programs to prevent, detect, mitigate, and remedy health conditions arising from exposure to environmental hazards.
See also BUILDING-RELATED ILLNESS; DRINKING WATER STANDARDS; FOODBORNE ILLNESSES; INDOOR AIR QUALITY; RADIATION EXPOSURE; SICK BUILDING SYNDROME; WATERBORNE ILLNESSES.