Importance Of Environmental Health

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INTRODUCTION
Environmental health as defined by the World Health Organization document of 1999 are the aspects of the human health and disease that are determined by factors in the environment. It also involves the practice of assessing and controlling factors in the environment that can potentially and affect health. Environmental health also includes both the direct pathological effects of chemicals, radiation and some biological agents, and the effects on health and wellbeing of the broad physical, psychological, social and cultural environment, which includes housing, urban development, land use and transport. The environment plays a critical role in health because it can be both a provider of raw materials to help maintain health and also
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Clean air is very important in health especially to patients with respiratory diseases like asthma, because it reduces the risk of attacks and also exposure to allergens. Clean air also very important in the wards, in preventing spread of communicable diseases like tuberculosis and also pneumonias. Observations done in Florida USA showed that for Floridians living with respiratory issues such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, low air quality can determine one's ability to perform daily tasks (Mayer 1999).
People exposed to high enough levels of certain air pollutants however may experience different types of disease. Air pollution usually comes from emissions from many different sources e.g. industry, motor vehicles, heating and commercial sources, household fuels as well as tobacco smoke. The diseases include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and breathing difficulties worsening of existing lung and heart problems, such as asthma and increased risk of heart attack. In addition, long-term exposure to air pollution can cause cancer and damage to the immune, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems. In extreme cases, it can even cause death. The World Health Organization has identified ambient air pollution as a cause of increased mortality and shortened life expectancy (Brunekreef & Holgate
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The direct sources of water pollution include effluent outfalls from factories, refineries, waste treatment plants etc., that emit fluids of varying quality directly into urban water supplies. Indirect sources include contaminants that enter the water supply from soils/groundwater systems and from the atmosphere via rain water. Soils and ground waters contain the residue of human agricultural practices (fertilizers, pesticides) and improperly disposed of industrial wastes. All these pollutants can be health hazards, to people who live and use water down the streams. For example all waste water from part of Bulawayo will end up in Gwai and Shangani River, which will also ultimately drain into Kariba. A lot of villages along the Zambezi valley are then at risk from the pollutants. The toxins in polluted water greatly affect health for instance Hexachlorobenzene commonly used as a pesticide can cause cancer and disrupt the endocrine system and interfere with enzyme activity. DDT a deadly chemical used as an insecticide also has been linked to diabetes and cancer. Metals such as Mercury can cause tremors, psychotic reactions, and suicidal tendencies. Lead can damage the blood, brain, and disrupt nervous system communications. Other pollutants

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