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The Environment and Human Health

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD

Environmental Health

In many cases, environmental health issues are identified when it is noticed that a particular health problem is occurring at a higher-than-normal rate in a particular population. Sometimes, these health concerns are related to exposure to toxic chemicals in air, water, food, soil, or built environments. However, other elements within the environment also can have adverse effects on human health. For example, pests, such as dust mites, can cause allergies and contribute to asthma; and mosquitoes can carry infectious diseases like malaria and dengue fever. Additional environmental factors, such as water contaminated with bacteria, also contribute to infectious diseases. Radiation from the sun or from our homes (radon) can cause cancer. Noise pollution leads to hearing loss. Even fluctuations in temperature can affect health dramatically, and on a large scale. Consider global climate change: increased temperatures in some parts of the world are causing the ranges (or vectors) of certain disease-causing organisms to expand and infect new populations. 

Funded by the following grant(s)