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Environment and Health Relationship

According to Carson (2002), it is evident that the environment has a close link to health. Notably, the publication gives a powerful framework that describes how the world used to exist in harmony until the time when man began to use excessive toxic chemicals. The author asserts that the advances that have been made in the field of chemical technology have led to a massive release of poisonous substances into the ecosystem.

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This has posed myriads of health risks in human health (Carson, 2002). Evidence has shown that poor environmental conditions have adversely affected human health. Needless to say, such effects have raised numerous ethical questions. Hence, there is a need to reframe health and environmental policies (Bayer et al., 2007). It is against this backdrop that this paper aims to explain the relationship between health and environment through a succinct analysis and identification of five objectives of epidemiology as depicted in the publication.

Notably, there is a growing body of evidence that human health is subject to environmental conditions. This is because human beings and other living organisms highly depend on the immediate environment for survival and nourishment (Bayer et al., 2007). Therefore, if they lack clean air, food, water and a safe place to live, it becomes quite cumbersome for them to survive. Needless to say, personal health and exercise are important for healthy wellbeing.

Additionally, consumption of a safe and healthy diet is crucial in ensuring good health (Smith & Ezzati, 2005). In line with this, research has shown that there are certain products within the environment that pose danger to health (Bayer et al., 2007). For instance, it has been revealed that estrogen products such as pesticides cause or expose women to a higher risk of contracting breast cancer (Carson, 2002). Studies have shown that numerous household products such as detergents, cosmetics and plastics contain estrogen compounds.

Furthermore, it is quite evident from previous empirical research that such compounds are responsible for other health problems such as prostate cancer, asthma and reproduction complications (Carson, 2002). From the review, it is certain that some environmental exposures have recurring effects on human health.

For instance, long-term use of harmful chemicals affects the surface of contacts such as soil or cemented walls and floors. Once the chemical is washed into water bodies, they are consumed by human beings. Notably, some contaminants are transmitted through food webs and chains. A good example is when a lactating mother feeds on vegetables that have been grown using contaminated water. The chemical side effects of the consumed foodstuff are passed on to the baby during breastfeeding.

On the other hand, it is imperative to note that there are environmental activities that are meant to promote health and also prolong human life. In the process of applying such processes, adverse effects are experienced in the environment. Research has shown that optimal food production is one of the activities that are meant to boost health (Ezzati et al., 2004).

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Therefore, human beings are usually compelled to use chemical pesticides and fertilizers to increase the volume of production. From a careful analysis of the review, it is evident that such chemicals used in food production emit toxic carbon gases as they gradually disintegrate into other forms. Carbon-based gases pose danger to the environment such as in the depleting of the ozone layer (Bayer et al., 2007). In addition, hospitals and healthcare centers use a large quantity of energy from fuels and electricity thereby producing medical wastes. Ezzati et al (2004) argue that to prevent certain environmental diseases, we may be compelled to damage the environment.

The latter has been evident since1940s when health measures were taken to prevent the spread of malaria (Bayer et al., 2007). For example, DDT chemical was sprayed in stagnant pools of water to kill mosquitoes. Needless to say, DDT has been scientifically known to cause prolonged negative effects on the environment. Besides, health agencies have often implemented policies and measures to lower mortality rates.

This has resulted in overpopulation and consequent overexploitation of resources such as fuel and land in the environment (Resnik & Roman, 2007). Moreover, clearing land for farming, erecting settlements and overutilization of natural resources result into pollution. In this case, it is arguable that both health and environment have direct link and affect each other in numerous ways (Mitchell & Popham, 2008).

From this analysis, one can depict the fact that there are five objectives in epidemiology and environmental health. One of the objectives of the review was to demonstrate that health and environment simultaneously affect each other (Carson, 2002). In this case, the review outlines environmental factors that affect health and vice versa. In addition to this, the review targeted to emphasize the essence of ethical considerations on complex issues that result from health and environmental practices (Carson, 2002).

This objective is crucial in formulation of polices and regulation governing environment and health. Another objective that can be derived from the review is that there is need to use multidisciplinary approaches while dealing with issue of health and environment (Carson, 2002). This is due to the fact that both entities are complex and thus there is need to adopt a collective approach with the help of scientists, physicians, ethicists and policy makers (Bayer et al., 2007).

Furthermore, another objective of the review was to demonstrate that environment and health cannot exist independently. In this case, they have to exist mutually, a factor that calls for measures to enhance a harmonious relationship. Finally, the review aimed at demonstrating that both health and environment are crucial in reinforcing each other (Carson, 2002).


Bayer, R. et al (2007). Public Health Ethics: Theory, Policy, and Practice, New York: Oxford University Press.

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Carson, R. (2002). Silent Spring Review: Researching the Environment and Women’s Health. Web.

Ezzati, M. et al (2004) Energy management and global health. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 29: 383-420.

Mitchell, R. & Popham, F. (2008). Effect of exposure to natural environment on health inequalities: an observational population study. Lancet, 372 (9650): 1655-1660.

Resnik, D.B. & Roman, G. (2007). Health, Justice, and the Environment. Bioethics, 21(4): 230-241.

Smith, K. & Ezzati, M. (2005). How environmental risks change with development: the epidemiologic and environmental risk transitions revisited. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 30: 291-333.

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