Environmental health is concerned with preventing disease, death and disability by reducing exposure to adverse environmental conditions and promoting behavioral change. It focuses on the direct and indirect causes of diseases and injuries, and taps resources inside and outside the health care system to help improve health outcomes. Environmental health risks can be grouped into two broad categories. Traditional hazards related to poverty and lack of development affect developing countries and poor people most. Modern hazards, caused by development that lacks environmental safeguards, such as urban (outdoor) air pollution and exposure to agro-industrial chemicals and waste, prevail in industrialized countries, where exposure to traditional hazards is low. Each year contaminated water and poor sanitation contribute to 5.4 billion cases of diarrhea worldwide and 1.6 million deaths, mostly among children under the age of five. Indoor air pollution—a much less publicized source of poor health—is responsible for more than 1.6 million deaths per year and for 2.7 percent of global burden of disease.
Emerging and reemerging diseases have been defined as infectious diseases of humans whose occurrence during the past two decades has substantially increased or threatens to increase in the near future relative to populations affected, geographic distribution, or magnitude of impacts. Antibiotic resistance is a global problem. New forms of antibiotic resistance can cross international boundaries and spread between continents. Environmental toxicology is the scientific study of the health effects associated with exposure to toxic chemicals and systems occurring in the natural, work, and living environments; the management of environmental toxins and toxicity; and the development of protections for humans, animals, and plants. Environmental contaminants are chemicals found in the environment in amounts higher than what would be there naturally. We can be exposed to these contaminants from a variety of residential, commercial, and industrial sources.
1. The pesticide DDT is an example of which one of the following?
A. Biological agent
B. Atomic agent
C. Chemical agent
D. Capricious agent
E. Inorganic agent
2. From the perspective of human health, malnutrition is important because it…
A. Causes the majority of birth defects
B. Is the primary source of teratogens for most children
C. is an important contributor to child mortality
D. Is the second leading cause of death from emerging disease
E. Increases the occurrence of infectious cancers
3. Antibiotic resistance in organisms is the result of what process?
4. Which one of the following is an example of an emerging disease?
D. Heart disease
5. “Effective dose – 50%” describes which one of the following?
A. The dose that results in 50% mortality
B. The dose the results in 50% survival
C. The dose that is 50% less than the lethal dose
D. The dose that results in a significant response in 50% of subjects
E. The dose that is 50% more than the minimal dose
6. You are working as an environmental toxicologist for the government. Your results indicate that a particular chemical causes birth defects. Which one of the following best describes the effects of this chemical?
D. Endocrine disruptor
7. Which one of the following is most directly associated with radon?
B. Endocrine disruption
C. Birth defects
D. Biological agents
8. Which one of the following is an example of bioremediation?
A. Adding chemical dispersants following an oil spill
B. Growing large colonies of bacteria to produce antibiotic chemicals
C. Mimicking the processes of natural in a laboratory or industrial context
D. Removing invasive species that are overpopulating an ecosystem
E. Using plants to remove toxic metals from soils following a mining operation
9. Which one of the following is not a naturally-occurring element that may be hazardous to human health?
10. Which one of the following is not true regarding the “Love Canal Disaster”?
A. It involved the improper storage of chemical waste
B. It was one of several incidents that led to the creation of the Superfund
C. A school was built on the contaminated site
D. Many homes had to be evacuated due to contamination from various biological agents
E. Many people living in the year reported serious health problems
See Appendix for answers
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OSHA. (n.d.). Understanding chemical hazards. Accessed August 25, 2015 fromhttps://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy11/sh-22240-11/ChemicalHazards.pdf. Modified from original.
Theis, T. & Tomkin, J. (Eds.). (2015). Sustainability: A comprehensive foundation. Retrieved from http://firstname.lastname@example.org. Available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. (CC BY 4.0). Modified from original.
University of California College Prep. (2012). AP environmental science. Retrieved from http://cnx.org/content/col10548/1.2/. Available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. (CC BY 4.0). Modified from original.
World Bank. (2003). Environmental health. Washington, DC. World Bank. Retrieved from https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/9734. Available under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC BY 3.0). Modified from Original.
World Bank. (2008). Environmental health and child survival : Epidemiology, economics, experiences. Washington, DC: World Bank. World Bank. Retrieved from https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/6534. Available under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC BY 3.0). Modified from original.
World Bank. (2009). Environmental health and child survival. Retrieved from https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/11719. Available under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC BY 3.0). Modified from original.
Page attribution: Essentials of Environmental Science by Kamala Doršner is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Modified from the original by Matthew R. Fisher. “Review Questions” is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by Matthew R. Fisher.