Chapter 17: Environmental Hazards and Human Health
People face health hazards from biological, chemical, physical, and cultural factors, and from the lifestyle choices they make.
Five major types of hazards
In terms of death rates, the most serious infectious diseases are flu, AIDS, diarrheal diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis; most of these deaths occur in developing countries.
There is growing concern about chemicals that can cause birth defects and cancers and disrupt the human immune, nervous, and endocrine systems.
Scientists use live laboratory animals, non-animal tests, case reports of poisonings, and epidemiological studies to estimate the toxicity of chemicals, but these methods have limitations.
Many health scientists call for much greater emphasis on pollution prevention to reduce our exposure to potentially harmful candidates.
We can reduce the major risks we face if we become informed, think critically about risks, and make careful choices.