The World Health Organization (WHO) defines environment, as it relates to health, as “all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related behaviors. ”Environmental health consists of preventing or controlling disease, injury, and disability related to the interactions between people and their environment.
As we approach Earth Day, it seems like a good time to look at how our health is affected by the environment.
Globally, nearly 25 percent of all deaths and the total disease burden can be attributed to environmental factors. According to the American Heart Association,exposure to pollution contributes to heart disease and stroke. Johns Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities states the most hazardous types of pollution include carbon monoxide, nitrates, sulfur dioxide, ozone, lead, secondhand tobacco smoke and other particles in the air.
While petitioning lawmakers and corporations to make laws and policies that reduce pollution is a good action to take to reduce environmental hazards in the future, there are some practical things that can have an effect right now. Check the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality report and plan your time outside accordingly. Try to walk instead of drive when you can. Instead of buying water in plastic bottles, get a reusable one and refill it. Use fewer chemicals in household cleaning, opting for vinegar or products designed to be green.