Environment is broadly defined as the external surrounding, which we inhabit. The earth, water, air and the naturally occurring landscapes, are some of the factors that constitute the environment. These external factors impact our health in myriad ways. Increasing industrialization and the burden of an exploding population has turned this once pristine life-giving environment into an entity that harbours within it the ability to kill and maim. 13 million deaths occur every year around the world due to entirely preventable environmental conditions, of which 4 million are children.
Soil, water and air are the ingredients of life on earth and tragically these very factors fall prey to environmental degradation. Soil contamination happens due to indiscriminate use of pesticides, industrial effluents leaching into the soil, soil erosion, felling of trees and other factors. Many pesticides are carcinogenic causing damage to the brain and the nervous system.
Water sources, in which untreated sewage is drained and industrial waste makes it unpotable. Sadly many people around the world have no access to safe drinking water. Water borne diseases continually claim poor lives.
Smoke belching vehicles and factories contribute their mite to air pollution. Increasing levels of pollutants in the air has increased breathing problems and of course to global warming, which will bring its own share of diseases.
Environment Health and Safety involves identifying environmental risk factors, taking adequate measures to minimize them, identifying and reporting environmental foul-ups and try to lessen the damage from such accidents.
Environmental health of our surroundings would imply safety and preventive measures to be undertaken by the local populace with help from state or federal agencies. These measures would include, vehicles belonging to the neighborhood undergo a fuel emission check to ascertain CO level of the exhaust, old vehicles must be replaced by new ones.
To ensure that local work places manage their wastes in the proper manner instead of simply dumping them in the water sources or leave them to leach into the soil. Regularly check the condition of underground sewage pipes. To check that building materials conform to regulations and last but not the least to keep surroundings clean and green.
Environmental Health Science is an educational program offered by Universities around the world. The study program undertakes the task of identifying diseases caused due to environmental causes, to improve human health by curbing degradation of the environment. Studying measures to reduce the threats and havoc of pollution due to human causes and identifying and minimizing the actual cause of environment degradation.
The results of this and other research can be found on Environmental news. For instance results of the latest research shows that women exposed to high levels of DDT during adolescence are more prone to develop breast cancer. Study also shows that household cleaning chemicals are linked to reproductive harm and asthma.
Environmental Health service is an important branch of the WHO, involved in taking maximum effort to safeguard people's health due to environmental threats. They identify and tackle problems, provide technical and logistic support as well as formulating health policy and prevention methods.
An organization founded in 1947, to combat health issues due to environmental pollution as well as the formation of a national professional society for environmental health practitioners, known for their standard of excellence. This standard of service which serves as a benchmark in this profession is known as the Registered Environment Health Specialist or the Registered Sanitarian credential.
This credential signifies that the professional has undertaken a comprehensive course of study and passed the relevant exam and can perform his duties in the environmental health field armed with exceptional capabilities.
National Environmental Health Association offers 7 national credential programs, produces the Annual Education Conference and exhibition and publishes the respected Journal of Environment Health.
Apart from the pollution of soil, water and air mainly due to man's fault, more degradation of the environment happens due to oil spills, toxic leaks, nuclear explosions, raging fires and the consequences are immediate and horrendous often felt even in successive generations.
The immediate examples that come to mind are the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986 and the Carbide gas leak in India in 1984. Some twenty years later the fallout of these disasters are still evident, show no signs of abating and damage to life and property is incalculable.