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As we move forward through the years, taking care of our health and ensuring its longevity must become our primary goal. In this article, we will explore the factors that negatively affect human health that originates from our surroundings. These can range from harmful pollutants in the air to pesticides in our food. To become aware of the environmental factors that affect human health, we must educate ourselves, and this article is an excellent opportunity to learn.
Pollution: The Silent Killer
Air pollution is one of the most significant factors that can affect human health. It decreases the quality of air we breathe and can cause respiratory problems, cardiovascular illnesses, and even some cancers.
Pollution is not just present outside; it is also found in our homes, workplaces, and cars. Indoor air pollution is caused by dust, pet hair, fungi, and other chemicals from cleaning products, paint, and furniture.
Quick Tip: Regularly clean your home's air filters to prevent pollution buildup and reduce indoor air pollution.
Apart from air pollution, soil and water pollution can also affect human health. The contaminated soil can lead to exposure to harmful chemicals, which can cause health problems such as lead poisoning. Chemical contamination of water sources can cause gastrointestinal diseases, skin conditions, and even nervous system disorders like paralysis.
Did You Know? More than two million deaths a year result from harmful exposure to outdoor air pollution.
Climate Change: A Global Threat
In recent years, climate change has become a significant issue. Climate change indirectly leads to health problems such as malnutrition and undernutrition. It also exacerbates extreme weather events, like floods, droughts, and hurricanes, leading to diseases such as cholera and dengue.
Quick Fact: The World Health Organization estimates that between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths annually.
Climate change can also result in a loss of biodiversity, which further negatively impacts human health. Loss of biodiversity can lead to the disappearance of plants and animals, which provide essential medicinal benefits and the nutrients we need to survive.
Chemical Exposure: Toxins in Our Surroundings
Apart from pollution, chemicals in our surroundings can also affect human health. Exposure to these chemicals can cause developmental problems, hormonal imbalances, and even cancer.
Quick Tip: Read labels on cleaning products, cosmetics, and food packaging to avoid exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals.
One example is Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were widely used for their flame-resistant properties in insulation and electrical equipment. However, they were eventually discontinued due to their carcinogenic nature.
Fun Fact: PCBs have been found in the breast milk of mothers who were exposed to them.
Other examples include bisphenol A (BPA), which is used in plastics used for water bottles and food containers, and pesticides used on crops. Exposure to these chemicals can lead to several health problems, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hormone disruption.
Green Spaces: Benefits of Nature on Health
Green spaces such as parks and forests are becoming increasingly important for our physical and mental well-being. Studies have shown that people who spend more time in nature have been proven to experience a variety of health benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety levels and improved heart health.
Quick Fact: The Journal of Environmental Psychology found that spending time in nature can increase our energy levels.
Encouraging municipalities to create more green spaces in urban areas can help create healthier communities and help mitigate health issues related to air pollution and urban living.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do environmental changes affect human health?
Environmental changes can affect human health by exposing us to harmful pollutants in the air or chemicals in our surroundings. Air pollution and water pollution can cause respiratory problems, skin conditions, and even cancer. Chemical exposure can cause developmental problems, hormonal imbalances, and even cancer. Climate change can indirectly contribute to health problems such as malnutrition and undernutrition and exacerbate extreme weather events, leading to diseases such as cholera and dengue.
What are the factors affecting human health?
Several factors affect human health, including genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Environmental factors include pollution, climate change, and chemicals in our surroundings.
What are the 10 environmental factors?
The ten environmental factors affecting human health are air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, climate change, loss of biodiversity, chemical exposure, waste management, ultraviolet radiation, noise pollution, and occupational hazards.
Quick Tips and Facts
- Air pollution is responsible for more than two million deaths a year worldwide.
- Indoor air pollution can be caused by dust, pet hair, fungi, and cleaning products.
- Exposure to some pesticides can be linked to several health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and hormone disruption.
- Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress and improve heart health.
- Climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths yearly between 2030 and 2050.
Now that you're aware of the environmental factors that affect human health, it's important to take necessary precautions to mitigate them. Educate yourself, use green products, and support initiatives to protect the environment. Remember, a healthy environment creates healthy people.
At Fitness and Nature™, we believe in holistic wellness. We always recommend nature-based therapies such as forest bathing, ecotherapy, and getting outdoors. Incorporate green spaces into your routine, connect with nature, and ensure sustainability for our future.
 United Nations Environment Programme. Air Pollution. https://www.unep.org/explore-topics/air
 World Health Organization. Climate Change and Health. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/climate-change-and-health
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chemical Safety. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/chemicals/default.html
 National Institutes of Health. Bisphenol A (BPA). https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-bpa/index.cfm
 National Parks Service. Benefits of Nature. https://www.nps.gov/articles/naturesbenefits.htm
 The Lancet Planetary Health. The Global-Scale Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(21)00081-4/fulltext(18)30106-8/fulltext