The Effects of Environmental Issues on Your Health

Normally when you think about environmental issues you’re probably most concerned with how human beings are impacting the future of the planet. Worry over climate change and pollution are common, but usually when thinking about how humanity and the many varieties of life on the planet will be able to live in the decades to come. But have you ever stopped to think about how the environment is affecting your health right now? All of the ways that mankind has changed the earth through industrialization and overpopulation aren’t only problems for sometime down the road, but can actually cause you real and lasting harm today. Here are just a few of the effects of environmental issues on your health.

When thinking about air quality the concern used to be how greenhouse gases are heating up the planet. That is certainly valid, but those same pollutants are impacting your health as well. They could cause long-term respiratory problems, persistent allergies, asthma flare-ups and even cancer. Studies are currently looking at regions with high levels of airborne pollutants to see how it affects cancer rates. But closing your doors won’t solve all of the problems. Keep an eye out for stoves and fireplaces that aren’t properly ventilated, as you could increase your risk of pulmonary disease. Toxic chemicals commonly used in home construction could irritate your respiratory system, cause asthma and allergies, rash outbreaks and even some forms of cancer. And secondhand cigarette smoke has a wide range of negate effects.

The quality of the water you take in can also impact your long term health. If your water source is contaminated with lead, which can be the case in older homes, you could face harsh medical issues including kidney, brain and nervous system problems. If you get your water from an underground source be aware of any contamination that can occur. You must keep an eye out for local manufacturers, and be wary of oil, chemical or gasoline spills on your property. Perhaps you drink bottled water to avoid these issues? Make sure the bottles you buy are free of Bisphenol A, or BPAs, which have been shown to increase the chance of cancer and reproductive problems.

It’s almost impossible to find true quiet these days, and much of that noise you often create yourself. But did you know that noise exposure can impact your health? If you deal with constant, jarring noise in your environment it can increase the amount of time your body spends in a state of stress, which can actually lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. If you work in a noisy environment you could risk long-term hearing loss, and children that grow up in noisy homes have higher levels of anxiety and slower cognitive growth.

Finally, consider the food that you eat, which obviously comes from your environment. One thing you must look out for are pesticides. They’re harmless to most people in small doses, but can cause birth defects if pregnant women take in too many, and elevated exposure over time could potentially lead to cancer. You also have to be careful with your fish consumption. Many fish these days contain elevated mercury levels, and you can’t always tell which varieties are affected. When you eat these fish the mercury turns into a neurotoxin that can impact your nervous system or your brain. EvenĀ low cost health insurance will cover these issues, but young children and pregnant women should be very careful.

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