The Impact the Environment has on Public Health 

Categories: EnvironmentHealth

The environment has had an affect on people for millions of years through records and archeological evidence. In history there has been ice ages, storms such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and more that has caused mass destruction in a specific area along with death. Along with these storms, environmental risk factors such pollution in air, water, soil, hazardous chemicals and more has contributed to over 100 diseases and injuries. According to the World Health Organization “An estimated 12.6 million deaths each year are attributable to unhealthy environments – nearly one in four of total global deaths.

Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change and ultraviolet radiation, contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries.” The amount of deaths a year is way too many deaths and this is alarming for people to recognize how the environment is affecting our health. Changes have to be made because most of these issues of pollution are due to humans and the emissions of harmful chemicals.

There are alternatives and we should consider them more than often in order to save our people and environment.

Environmental Hazards

There are two types of air pollution which are outdoor and household. According to World Health Organization “air pollution that’s outdoor contributes to 4.2 million deaths a year while household pollution contributes to 3.8 million deaths per year” (WHO 2018) . Air pollution is a mixture of solid particles and gases within the air we breath. Things like car emissions, factory chemicals/pollution and dust are some direct causes of air pollution.

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On the Medlineplus website, I learned about a gas called Ozone. Ozone is a gas that is a major part of air pollution in cities and when it forms the pollution in the air is known as smog.

When inhaling air pollution health problems can occur and if you have heart or lung issues then it can be deadly. Household pollutants are considered more hazardous than outside pollutants which studies have shown due to it being airtight which results in the deterioration of air quality. These pollutants are contaminants that are released during the use of many products in daily life. Household pollutants consist of household cleaners, paints and solvents, lawn and garden care, automotive products, pool chemicals, and health and beauty aids.

Many companies are introducing green products to counter this issue. There’s also the issue of water pollution that’s jeopardizing our health. Water is essential to us yet companies and manufacturers are still polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans. According to Dunchak (2018) her article on air pollution she stated “Unsafe water kills more people each year than war and all other forms of violence combined. Meanwhile, our drinkable water sources are finite: Less than 1 percent of the earth’s freshwater is actually accessible to us. Without action, the challenges will only increase by 2050, when global demand for freshwater is expected to be one-third greater than it is now” (Dunchak 2018).

This is a issue we have to counter now before it’s too late. It’s noted that 60 percent of the human body is water. The brain and heart alone is made up of 73 percent water (USGS 2018). It’s kind of hard to believe that companies still pollute the water we need in order to survive. If we continue to neglect these issues, we will only create a bad future for the next generations to come. So we have to take the initiative to limit the pollutants in our water and air to ensure the future is bright for all of civilization.

There are other environmental risks that have become problematic for our community that we have no control of. Hurricanes and tornadoes have had a drastic effect on our the living and health conditions of families. A hurricane is a large storm that consist of strong wind and rain.. Hurricanes winds of 119 kilometers per hour 74 mph or higher. According to the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases “ In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew struck eastern North Carolina, killing 26 people and causing $4.8 billion in damage. In addition to flooding coastal plains, the storm dropped more than one foot of rain 100 miles inland. Rivers rose to levels not seen since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.”(MacLachlan 2018).

Hurricanes impact tremendously of the wellbeing of people because it can lead to floods. A tornado is a very violent destructive windstorm. Tornadoes are considered to be the most violent storm. The wind of a tornado can 300 miles per hour. Most deaths from tornadoes come from airborne debris or “being in the air”.These environmental hazards have affected the public health for awhile now. However, are said to be considered as “natural disasters”. This is why I say these risk are something that we can’t control. We have the power to change or limit the pollution we have in our air, water, and households.

There’s no way for us to stop a natural disaster. Although, atmospheric scientist from Texas A&M University found that tiny particles in pollution called aerosols make storms stronger and more rigorous. There are natural aerosols but the one’s creating these larger storms are human-made sulfates that are emitted primarily by coal power plants. These human-made aerosols are increasing and outnumbering the natural ones and results in drastic weather changes.The pollution is coming from Asia and far east growing economies. Their actions is changing the weather in North America according to these scientist.

According to (Chicago Gateway Green 2018)“Using a simulator, scientists have confirmed that these human-made aerosols are spreading across the Pacific and causing storms to be more vigorous than they would be otherwise. The storms have more ice and a larger “anvil” shape to the clouds. They are also increasing the flow of heat from the equatorial region toward the arctic, contributing to global warming”. So, in a sense , if we make the changes we need to and switch to renewable source alternatives we can at least not help these storm continue to grow and become what we have known them to be; and that’s deadly.

Effects on Human Health

There has been many studies to link the connection with the environment impacting human health. Although the exact cause of diseases along with deaths have not fully been determined.There are many factors that contribute to the cause of health issues. There are five environmental factors that affects humans which include exposure to hazardous substances in the air, water, soil, and food, natural and technological disasters, climate change, occupational hazards, and the built environment. According to The World Health Organization there have been tons of deaths that are attributable to preventable environmental causes. Remoundou and Koundour (2009) studied that “Climate change is also posing risks to human population health and well-being and thus is emerging as a serious concern worldwide.

Humans have been linked to climate change due to the burning of fossil fuels and the existence of greenhouse gases. It’s almost repetitive but we seem to constantly be our own worst enemy because were affecting the environment negatively and it’s doing the same to us in return. According to the (CDC 2018 ) when it involves climate change “Some existing health threats will intensify and new health threats will emerge.” Things like extreme heat, severe weather, and environmental degradation all have an impact on human health. Extreme heat for example, led to heat related illnesses, death, and cardiovascular failure.” Changes has to be made or things will continue to get worse for civilization.

Causes of Environmental Hazards

(Remoundou and Koundour 2009) stated Intensification of agriculture, industrialization and increasing energy use are the most severe driving forces of environmental health problems. These health issues are linked to environmental hazards”. Environmental hazards are the risk of damage to the environment, for example, air pollution, water pollution, and other toxins that I spoke about earlier. Again these are from burning fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. I found that these hazards are caused by the simple things like car washes and using a computer. Computers require electricity and electricity is created majorly by the burning of fossil fuels. Again it just shows how important it is for us to begin to use alternatives (renewable resources) more often.

According to the book “Nursing, Health & Environment” research stated “In the National Research Council in 1984, more than 65,000 new chemical compounds have been introduced into the environment since 1950, and new chemical compounds enter commerce each year.” (Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Enhancing Environmental Health Content in Nursing Practice; Pope, Snyder, and Mood. 1995). This means people are at risk daily of encountering hazardous chemicals that are harmful to our bodies. The environment affects our bodies by the air we inhale, water and our surroundings that impact our daily living. It is important to recognize the exposure to new chemicals that are being introduced.


A way to improve the environment is to go green and make the alternatives. For example to limit the air pollution we can began to use alternative fuels and power for vehicles more often. This can be a huge step to maintaining clean air because it’s proven that vehicles are the main source of air pollution. Ethanol is an alternative fuel that’s seeing some success in Brazil. The world should pay attention to what Brazil is doing because they are excelling with generating renewable sources. According to the (Potter 2013) “Brazil has been a world leader in the development of alternative energy sources since the mid-1970s, when the global oil crisis led the government to create the National Alcohol Program, the goal of which was to phase out automobile fuels derived from fossil fuels in favor of ethanol produced from sugar cane.

Sugar cane is a crop that is both cheap and abundant to grow in Brazil, and the refining technology yields a very efficient form of ethanol.” (Potter 2013). Presently, all cars in Brazil are fueled with some percentage of ethanol and some run fully on ethanol alone. This is reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases into the air and generating good money for Brazil’s economy. It’s all flowing from within which can create a large boom soon. According to (Potter 2013), their goal is to “generate nearly 70% of its energy from renewable energy sources by the year 2020”. Lastly, many people should begin to implement the same tactics that Brazil has to create opportunity and a better environment overall for everyone.

Another alternative to help keep our environment clean for the good of the public are wind turbines. Wind turbines is the fastest growing renewable energy source industry in the world . According to Kohilo University , “It’s a clean fuel source. Wind energy doesn’t pollute the air like power plants that rely on combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas. Wind turbines don’t produce atmospheric emissions that cause acid rain or greenhouse gasses.” It’s also good economically in rural areas. Wind power is also cost effective due to it being one of the lowest priced renewable technologies as of right now. There are concerns about the noise it’ll make though & the possible effect it can have on wildlife. Even though wind turbines don’t have much of an impact on the environment in a negative way , it still has an affect on other things like wildlife.

There are more alternatives that we can began to implement more around our country to where they would fit geographically. Other renewable energy alternatives that we can use more often is hydropower and solar. There are jobs for Panasonic in Buffalo that creates solar panels so you can get an idea to how big this can eventually become. So in a sense if we begin to save our Environment, we will always be saving the overall health of the public.


The environment can have a huge impact on public health. We are negatively affecting the environment & that’s negativity affecting us. Being more reliant on renewable sources more often can do many things . For example, in the article by Amin (2018) “Beyond cost, renewable energy improves public health and security, creates jobs, and boosts economic growth. Irena research finds that renewable energy jobs reached 6.5m globally in 2013”. With success number like that it’s interesting to see where we will be 10 years from now. It’s interesting to see who will become the leader of renewable energy usage in the near future.

Looking back it’s hard to think that owners of factories still would allow greenhouse gas emissions to be released into the same air that they breathe . A Lot of the issues that were are facing we are causing ourselves. The storms, the change in climate, the severe weather and the deaths should have been a wake up call to society that changes have to be made fast Instead of them being an alternative, they should be the primary source for cities to generate energy. Public health is important and we can’t continue to allow our actions to harm people.

To conclude, the environment has a major impact on our public health. People need to be aware of the toxic chemicals we are inhaling that are harming our bodies. Also, be aware of storms and disasters that occur that might have a significant impact on cities around the world.

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 The Impact the Environment has on Public Health . (2021, Apr 24). Retrieved from

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