EOC_ch14

Essential Environment: The Science behind the Stories (3rd Edition)

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Chapter 14 Testing Your Comprehension 1 Environmental health hazards can be physical, chemical, biological, or cultural. 2 Infectious disease is the worst of the biological health hazards, and causes more human deaths than any other environmental health hazard. It is a problem that can grow over time, is communicable, and can be understood only in the context of complex interrelationships among technology, land use, and ecology. 3 Exposure to lead, asbestos, radon, and PBDEs occurs primarily indoors. Lead exposure can occur though contamination of water flowing through older pipes with lead solder, or by ingestion of paint containing lead. Both of these uses have been largely discontinued, and in older homes, can be abated. Asbestos was a commonly used insulating material, and can be inhaled if the material is disturbed. This use has also been largely discontinued, and old asbestos insulation can be removed by a qualified contractor. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that, in certain geological areas, can seep into the basements of homes and accumulate there. When inhaled it increases the risk of lung cancer. If the basement is both sealed and well ventilated, radon levels can be kept very low. PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) are used as flame retardants in many consumer products. They are environmentally persistent, are bioaccumulated, and appear to be endocrine disruptors. Little has been done to address this situation in the United States. 4 Concern over pesticides in the United States has been growing since Silent Spring was published in 1962. Carson argued that DDT was harmful to the health of people, wildlife, and ecosystems. DDT use was subsequently banned in the United States, although it is still produced domestically, sold abroad, and used abroad. 5
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EOC_ch14 - Chapter 14 Testing Your Comprehension 1...

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