Lecture 9 - Technological Hazards These have a wide and...

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Technological Hazards These have a wide and varied interpretation. They can vary from a single toxic chemical accident to an entire industry (e.g. nuclear energy). Other examples may include exposure to pollutants or hazardous waste.
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Technological Hazards Hybrid disasters may fit into this category. Ex: an earthquake that causes an oil or chemical spill from a pipeline. Technological disasters involving the environment are included in this category as well. Ex: sinking of the Titanic , explosions of the Challenger and Columbia space shuttles.
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Vulnerability to Technological Hazards Typically, the death tolls from technological hazards are relatively low. Vulnerability is greatest for those involved in industry or transportation systems. Workers in resource industries in hinterlands are at higher risk (eg: miners).
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Types of Technological Hazards Extreme Hazards -widespread and long term (nuclear accidents) -cumulative effects Rare Catastrophes -airplane crashes -mine collapses -shipwrecks Common -automobile accidents -poisons
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Cumulative Effects These are conditions that worsen slowly over time as exposure to a concentration increases. Eventually, the concentration reaches a threshold critical to human health. Situations related to this include exposure to toxic chemicals, acid precipitation, groundwater contamination and ozone depletion.
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Calculating Risks of Technological Hazards Large-scale Structures (buildings, bridges, dams): Risk is defined as the probability of failure during the lifetime of the structure. Transportation (road, sea, rail): Risk is the probability of death or injury per km travelled. Industry (manufacturing, power production): Risk is the probability of death or injury per person per number of hours exposed.
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Radon The primary source of radon gas is from the natural decay of uranium in rock and soil. When radon is inhaled it then decays to polonium and lodges in the lungs where it damages tissues. It is the 2 nd leading cause of lung cancer in North America.
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Radon Radon becomes a hazard when it is released into our living space. It is difficult to detect because the gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless. 5% to 10% of homes have potentially high radon levels. Radon detectors are commercially available in areas where it is of greater concern.
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Radon The gas can move quickly through non- saturated soil and can seep into homes. Basements are at higher risk especially in winter due to reduced air circulation.
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Genetically Modified Organisms These are organisms that have had changes made to their DNA by the transfer of genes. Example feats in genetic engineering: - chickens that lay low-cholesterol eggs tomatoes that can prevent some cancers -bananas and potatoes to treat viral diseases in developing countries -bacteria that can quickly clean up oil and toxic spills
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Genetically Modified Food The most common crops that are genetically modified are corn, soybean, and canola.
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  • Fall '14
  • Three Mile Island accident, Chernobyl disaster, nuclear reactors, technological hazards

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