Chapter 20: The Environment and Your Health
On completing this chapter, you will be able to:
Identify factors that impact your personal health in positive or negative ways.
Explain how your personal health is influenced by different environmental factors on several scales,
including personal environment, the community and regional environment, and the global
Describe five or more pollutants that can affect your personal environment.
Describe specific actions that you can take to minimize health risks associated with your personal
environment—your home, your automobile, your workplace.
Explain key factors affecting air and water quality on a community or regional level.
Describe specific actions that you can take to minimize environmental health risks at the community
and regional level.
Explain the effects of population growth on global environmental health.
Describe several global environmental health issues, and offer actions that you might take to foster
Terms and Definitions
air pollution –
refers to a wide variety of substances found in the atmosphere that can have adverse effects
on human health, crop productivity, and natural communities.
air toxics –
a class of 188 toxic air pollutants identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as
known or suspected causes of cancer or other serious health effects, such as reduced fertility, birth defects,
or adverse environmental effects.
a term used to refer to a class of minerals that have a fibrous crystal structure.
biological air pollutants –
living organisms or substances produced by living organisms that cause disease
or allergic reactions, including bacteria, molds, mildew, viruses, dust mites, plant pollen, and animal
dander, urine, or feces.
biological water pollutants –
disease-causing organisms that are found in water.
carbon monoxide –
a gaseous by-product of the incomplete combustion of natural gas, kerosene,
oil, wood, coal, gasoline, and tobacco.
a process that converts lands that historically supported grasslands, shrublands, or dry
forest to nonproductive desert.
endocrine disrupting chemicals –
Substances that interact with the glands, hormones, and tissues that
regulate many physiological processes in humans, including growth, development from fetus to adult,
metabolism, reproduction, and development of the brain and nervous system.
the physical conditions and other living organisms that exist around your body.
fecal coliform bacteria –
a category of bacteria that live within the intestines of warm-blooded animals;
the presence of these bacteria is used as an indicator that water has been contaminated by feces.