Analyzing Social Problems
March 13, 2021
The skeletal system
March 15, 2021

Environmental Health

Chapter 19: Environmental Health

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Chapter Highlights #1

Human health and the environment

Assessing contaminants in the environment

Exposure pathways

Assessing the environment of a community

Planning interventions to make communities healthier

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Chapter Highlights #2

Evaluating interventions

Environmental epidemiology

Working toward healthy communities

Environmental justice

Global environmental health issues

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Question #1

Is the following statement true or false?

Environmental health is the branch of public health science that focuses on how the environment influences chronic disease.

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Answer to Question #1

False

Rationale: Environmental health is the branch of public health science that focuses on how the environment influences human health, not chronic disease.

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Human Health and the Environment #1

History of environment health

How do certain contaminants affect human health?

How do we assess exposures to contaminants?

How does the environment influence health?

How do we live as a population while maintaining a healthy environment?

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Human Health and the Environment #2

Community environment

Genetic and behavioral factors

Nursing and environmental health

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Assessment

Assessing contaminants in the environment

Exposure pathway

Source of contamination

Environmental media and transport mechanisms

Point of exposure

Route of exposure

Receptor population

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Exposure History

Present work

Past work

Home/residence

Activities/hobbies

Concerns

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Question #2

What is bioavailability?

Study of the adverse effects of chemical, physical, or biologic agents on people, animals, and the environment

An estimate that determines a person’s level of exposure to a contaminant

Amount of a contaminant that actually ends up in the systemic circulation

Process of using medical tests such as blood or urine collection to determine if a person has been exposed to a contaminant and how much exposure he or she has received

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Answer to Question #2

C. Amount of a contaminant that actually ends up in the systemic circulation

Rationale: Bioavailability is the amount of a contaminant that actually ends up in the systemic circulation. Toxicology is the study of the adverse effects of chemical, physical, or biologic agents on people, animals, and the environment. An exposure estimate determines a person’s level of exposure to a contaminant. Biomonitoring is the process of using medical tests such as blood or urine collection to determine if a person has been exposed to a contaminant and how much exposure he or she has received.

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Determining the Health Impact of a Completed Exposure Pathway

Toxicology is the study of the adverse effects of chemical, physical, or biologic agents on people, animals, and the environment.

An exposure estimate determines a person’s level of exposure to a contaminant.

Bioavailability is the amount of a contaminant that actually ends up in the systemic circulation.

Biomonitoring is the process of using medical tests such as blood or urine collection to determine if a person has been exposed to a contaminant and how much exposure he or she has received.

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Proximity

Proximity to a contaminant or hazard is not the only factor in determining whether there is a risk to human health.

For a contaminant to pose a risk, there must be a completed exposure pathway.

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Assessing the Environment of a Community

When assessing a community’s environment, it is helpful to think about the whole environment to determine what components are influencing human health.

Environmental justice is important to consider when looking at the impact of the environment on a community.

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Assessment of Individuals: Taking an Exposure History

Identify current or past exposures.

Eliminate exposures.

Try to mitigate or reduce a client’s adverse health effects from exposures.

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Interventions

Most often something designed to interrupt or break the exposure pathway

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Evaluation

Has the exposure pathway been interrupted?

What does the community think about the intervention—are people satisfied?

How has health improved?

How many people did the intervention affect?

Can the intervention demonstrate any cost savings?

Is the intervention sustainable?

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Environmental Epidemiology

Epidemiology is a field of public health science that focuses on the incidence and prevalence of disease or illness in a population

Environmental epidemiology

Field of public health science that focuses on the incidence and prevalence of disease or illness in a population from exposures in their environments

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Major Challenges to Environmental Epidemiology

Limited availability of data on many contaminants and their effect on health

Limited understanding about how exposures to multiple contaminants may sicken people

Latency between exposure and illness can be very long.

Time‐consuming to perform

Resource intensive in terms of personnel and money

Inconclusive in determining if X contaminant caused Y illness

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Working Toward Healthy Environments

Healthy communities

Healthy homes

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Children’s Health and the Environment

Vulnerability

Body systems are still rapidly developing

Eat, drink, and breathe more in proportion to their body size than do adults

Breathing zone is closer to the ground compared with adults

Bodies may be less able to break down and excrete contaminants

Behaviors can expose them to more contaminants

Spending time outside home where environmental hazards may be present

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Question #3

Is the following statement true or false?

Environmental justice is the belief that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of negative environmental health consequences regardless of race alone.

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Answer to Question #3

False

Rationale: Environmental justice is the belief that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of negative environmental health consequences regardless of race, culture, or income.

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Environmental Justice

Environmental justice is the belief that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of negative environmental health consequences regardless of the following:

Race

Culture

Income

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Global Environmental Health Challenges

Clean water and sanitation

Air quality

Chemical and contaminant exposure

Climate change

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