Environmental Health and Its Importance

Our environment shapes our health, even if it’s not always noticed. The place we live in, what we eat, and our interaction with the world have direct effects on our health.


Many people; He thinks of environmental health in terms of clean air and water, but natural environmental forces, including factors such as global warming, are only a small piece of the larger puzzle.

Environmental health; It is a public health field that monitors and addresses physical, chemical and biological factors over which we cannot have direct control, but can affect our health. For example, it’s hard to get out and exercise if you live in a neighborhood with unsafe sidewalks or polluted air. Similarly, the issue of what the living house was built with, what insects live nearby, and it is accessible to everyone, can have an impact on the health of the person and their family.

Simply put, environmental health is the field of public health that deals with different ways in which the world around us can affect our physical and mental well-being.

Environmental Health Areas

External health is one of the biggest areas of public health, due to numerous situations in which external factors can affect the places where individuals eat, live, and grow. These forces may be related to appealing to the natural environment. But it can also be a result of people’s own actions, including social norms.

2020’s environmental health plans highlight six key areas of environmental health that are important for public health.

Air Quality

Air is not a bargain for people. We need it to survive, but we don’t always take care to keep it clean, and it has a huge impact on our health. Poor air quality has been linked to a wide variety of health problems, including SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), lung cancer, and COPD. Air pollution is also linked to low birth weight. A study published in 2005 found that babies born to pregnant women exposed to high ozone during the second and third trimesters were more likely to be born with lower birth weight than the age not exposed. The effect is similar to that seen in babies of mothers who smoke during pregnancy.

The Clean Air Act enacted in the USA in 1970 tried to change all these. He pointed out that it was the first time that the federal government took the responsibility from maintaining air quality for all US citizens by regulating harmful emissions from things like cars and factories. This law was later expanded in 1990 for acid rain and ozone depletion and is still in effect. In its 2011 report, the Environmental Protection Agency predicted that the Clean Air Act would prevent more than 230,000 premature deaths by 2020.

Water and Sanitation

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that 780 million people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water and nearly 2.5 billion (about a third of the world’s population) lack adequate sanitation services such as clean bathrooms. The effect of this is surprising. Worldwide, an estimated 2,200 children die each day from diarrheal illnesses associated with improper water and sanitation.

The simple action of water filtration and chlorination systems in the United States has led to huge reductions in once-common diseases such as typhoid fever. According to one estimate, for every $ 1 invested in clean water technologies, $ 23 was saved in medical and communal costs associated with the country’s revolving fund, and clean water provided was the cause of the decline in child mortality in that country.

Toxic Substances and Hazardous Wastes

Toxicology, the field of science trying to understand how chemical substances can affect people and their environment, is an important field in environmental health. Many of the materials needed to advance industry and technology, such as heavy metals and even some plastics, can have a negative impact on the human body and even lead to serious medical conditions.

One of the best known examples of this phenomenon is the Flint water crisis. In 2015, when reports broke out that the lead content in drinking water was too high in Flint, Michigan, this news aroused extreme anger and fear among families. Because in this case, in the long term, many health complications, including brain damage, could occur if children drink these water and digest the lead contained in the water. In the Flint case, the economically disadvantaged children were the most affected.

More than 40 percent of the population in Flint lives below the poverty line and is about 2.8 times the average national poverty rate in the US. In terms of health outcomes of the county where the town resides, it ranks 81st out of 82 districts in Michigan state. This crisis is a prime example of how environmental health problems are also hurting those whose health condition is most at risk.

Houses and Communities

We spend most of our day at home, work or school, so it’s important that these places are safe with minimal hazards and conducive to a healthy lifestyle. When there is too much violence in a neighborhood, families may not be able to go out to exercise. When roads are not properly protected, it can cause further car accidents.

This is another area of ​​access to food that has emerged in the field of environmental health. There are no fully equipped grocery stores near many districts in the United States. In their absence, residents often have to rely on grocery stores, such as those found at gas stations, to buy their food. This can be expensive, but most importantly, it can mean less or lesser quality options for fresh fruit and vegetables. And as you know, food is an essential part of a healthy diet. Making healthy choices by exacerbating existing health inequalities can be a challenge in this area, especially for families with low income and minority populations in these regions.

Environmental health experts work to balance the impact of these food deserts, namely places where there are problems in food access. It calls upon the residents to establish public gardens where they can grow and harvest their own fresh produce and facilitate public transportation to full-service markets and farmers’ markets. And they are trying to change zoning laws to encourage retailers to offer healthier food choices.

Infrastructure and Surveillance

A primary part of any public health strategy is knowledge. By understanding what and where the risks are, environmental health professionals can better use resources to prevent or combat risks. This includes researching and responding to diseases, a field called epidemiology, as well as screening populations for hazards and creating systematic screening programs. Surveillance activities include seeking to alert environmental health organizations (passive surveillance) to professionals in other fields, such as pharmaceuticals or agriculture, as well as to the emergence and investigation of specific health problems.

An example of this is mosquito surveillance and mitigation activities. These programs examine mosquitoes, including the presence of dangerous infections such as the zika virus, and also monitor populations to make sure control measures are working. This information can help healthcare professionals know what to watch in doctor’s offices, guide local governments on what and how best to spray mosquitoes, and alert the public if a mosquito-borne disease is spreading in the area.

Global Environmental Health

In the coming years, environmental health professionals are preparing for a warmer, more humid climate that will threaten or exacerbate public health around the world. For example, as temperatures rise, disease-carrying mosquitoes can live in areas that are too cold to survive, increasing the number of people affected by vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria. As sea level rises, all coastal cities, island nations are at risk of flooding, sending millions of displaced people into crowded areas where diseases can spread rapidly.

Environmental health officials predict that with weather extremes in the coming years, in places such as Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico, successive storms and floods will destroy homes, making the spread of diseases easier. Protecting the health of the planet is critical to maintaining and improving the health of the entire world’s population. Although health outcomes have improved significantly over the past century, especially in wealthy countries such as the United States, it is an important issue for everyone. Because nowadays people travel more often than ever before, and conflicts are causing millions of people to flee their homes in areas such as Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan.

These increases in cross-border and transcontinental movements have the potential to threaten disease prevention efforts and further expand existing infrastructure. It is therefore essential that countries look beyond their borders to improve the health of not only their own but the global population.

How It Can Be Helped

The environmental health factor, unlike diet and exercise, isn’t something that can only be managed on an individual level. Tackling the risks they pose involves laws, policies and programs at the local, federal, and international levels. For example, it is unrealistic for everyone to examine their favorite restaurants’ kitchens or test them for heavy metals in their water. This is why there are disciplined, trained and qualified food safety inspectors and toxicologists who use standardized screening, inspection measures to ensure that our food and water is safe to consume. These individuals make a comprehensive and coordinated effort in a broad environmental health system to protect the health and safety of communities and communities around the world.

Researchers say that there are things that can be done individually outside of these controls to protect the planet’s environmental health and safety. For example, driving is one of them. Instead of using your private vehicle to and from work, you can help improve air quality by cycling, public transport or other transport systems. In addition, to avoid exposure to toxic substances, a person can check for radon, lead paint or pipes in their home. They can also work with local governments and businesses to invest in environmental health activities that enable every neighborhood to have access to safe environments to live, work and play.


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