‘Suspect screening’ confirms range of pharmaceuticals, including anticonvulsants, antihistamines, and muscle relaxants. A new way to test for a wide range of micropollutants in waterways has already turned up a nightmarish cocktail of contaminants. “Water quality monitoring is conventionally done by narrowly investigating one or a few contaminants at a time. We aimed to develop an analytical […]
The River Thames is changing its reputation from that ‘dirty old river’
Far too often when I write about environmental issues where it seems we are highlighting new causes for concern and the negative impact that we are having on our planet. Whilst I feel obliged to share the stories that spotlight new reports and concerns it’s not often enough that I find some truly good news that I feel like shouting about. Today however is an exception to the rule and goes to show what new standards can accomplish in reviving the habitat for some of our fellow species and our overall environment, even in the heart of a huge city.
I grew up in rural England and was lucky enough to be surrounded by fields and streams that were essentially the picture postcard of the English countryside. My grandparents lived in London and every summer I was lucky…
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High Rates of Lead Poisoning / Asthma a deadly consequence of residing near industrialized neighborhoods. Pollution resulting from our Built Environment have resulted in extensive health disparities worldwide:
About 25% of the USA’a housing —some 24 million homes— contains significant lead-based paint hazards, i.e. deteriorating lead paint or lead contaminated dust. (HUD, 2009).
The majority of resources and statistics concerning community correlations with respect to health disparities in the U.S. point to a direct correlation between industrialized, lower income communities and rates of Lead Poisoning / Asthma associated with living in a those particular communities. Over 4 million children in the U.S. had an asthma attack last year. (National Safety Council, 2015).
Better neighborhoods, generally associated with a higher income, had newer and higher housing standards, and were more financially able to comply with government regulations of lead content and smoke inhalation guidelines. Residents of privileged neighborhoods felt safer than families living in lower income neighborhoods. Poorer, disadvantaged neighborhoods where tenants are dependent on a landlord’s approval to address safety issues, may face a lengthy process if they wish to upgrade and make their living situation safer, or may not be able to afford a particular safety upgrade. This adds to feelings of perceived loss of personal control over ones own living situation resulting in an increased fear factor as well as elevated stress levels, which can have detrimental health effects.
When you’re a little more worried every day, you’re always a little more vigilant, looking around at things, checking people, places and things out a little more carefully. If you think about doing that day after day, year after year, it can be exhausting after a while. Constant worrying about stress and about how and when one is going to pay all the bills that are piling up adds an incredible amount of stress to life. Chronic stress wears on the body system resulting in lowered immunity and increased risk of disease and illness. (Lee, 2015).
Practitioner reports of disabled and impaired motor skills in children are more prevalent in older neighborhoods where lower income, minorities reside. Children in disadvantaged neighborhoods to be less likely to venture outside to exercise and inhale fresh breath fearing the consequences of doing so in a high crime neighborhood.
Other physical features that can have a negative effect on health outcomes:
1. Ground Soil Pollution: Lead manufacturing that has resulted in damages to the ground and environment having had profound affects on safe housing for families worldwide. Children from poorer families are the hardest hit by this type of pollution because parents don’t always have the additional resources to relocate their families to safer communities. Children have growing organs that are easily affected by toxic chemicals, and most kids participate in playtime that may include touching the ground on a regular basis exposing them to dangerous toxins.
2. Air Pollution: Asthma and other bronchial related problems resulting from Lead Poisons being emitted into the air as industrial factories release their by products in the form of poisonous gasses as a part of their manufacturing process. Children can be affected for decades after a plants closure. Lead findings as high as 70 times the USDA recommended Lead levels have had devastating effects on public health reports and statistics in towns where communities have been built close to lead and mercury producing facilities. (National Safety Council, 2009). Another similar source of pollution that would have residual effects for years to come was Regular gasoline that included a lead additive which was not known to be harmful till it was finally discontinued in the early 1980’s due to a government regulated Lead ban.
How affordable quality, and safe housing conditions promote health:
By educating practitioners, schools and parents, regarding the government resources available for improving all buildings and homes in an effort to get them up to code with acceptable levels of toxic lead and fume inhalation guidelines. All communities should be declared safe according to government standards, regardless of wealth or relative neighborhood status. We can minimize current health care problems and prevent future health issues by educating all individuals of their rights to safe housing, thus allowing all children to reach their full potential. Equal rights translate to equality of life expectancies throughout the U.S. for all residents. Our founding fathers created the U.S. Constitutional principles upon this premise. (Lee, 2012). Written by: JZ
National Safety Council. (2009) Lead Poisoning. Retrieved from
http://www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Advocacy/Fact%20Sheets/Lead-Poisoning- Fact- Sheet.pdf.
City of Roseburg. (2015). Public works projects. Retrieved from
Lee, E. (Producer & Director). (2008). Living in disadvantaged neighborhoods is bad for
your health [Video excerpt]. In L. Adelman (Executive producer), Unnatural causes:
Episode 5—Place matters. Arlington, VA: Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved from
It makes sense that an expectant mom’s exposure to pollutants in the air can affect her still-growing baby’s lungs and respiratory system. But there’s increasing evidence that such compounds can also harm brain development and contribute to behavioral and cognitive problems later in childhood.
In the latest study on the subject, published in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers for the first time pinpointed exactly which areas of the brain are affected if a baby is exposed to car exhaust and the byproducts of burning home heating oil. These polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have previously been linked to developmental delays, lower verbal IQ. signs of anxiety depression and problems with attention. But researchers haven’t been able to identify which areas of the brain are most vulnerable.
In this study, they recruited 40 mothers and their children living in the inner city…
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Osmium tetroxide is a rare and expensive toxic chemical used as a staining agent for biological samples examined under electron microscopes.
At room temperature, osmium tetroxide sublimates (turns from a solid to a gas without turning to a liquid) and its fumes can be extremely toxic, which can cause irritation to the eyes. This is typically the first symptom of exposure.
As with any toxic chemical substance, direct exposure can cause many adverse health effects. Direct contact on the skin can cause burns, discoloration and blisters. If the eyes are directly exposed, it can damage the cornea and may even turn them black, resulting in blindness.
Inhalation of the osmium tetroxide can cause coughing, shortness of breath, headaches and pulmonary edema, where fluid builds up in the lungs. At high concentrations, this can result in death.
Osmium tetroxide is typically colourless…
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CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) – A final report by independent researchers shows the radiological release from the federal government’s underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico was low and localized.
The report released Thursday by the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center also says no negative health effects are expected among workers or the public.
The research center is associated with New Mexico State University.
Its technicians have been collecting samples since February, when a container of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory ruptured after being placed in a storage room at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
Sampling stations at and near WIPP confirmed the presence of trace amounts of americium and plutonium.
The release forced the indefinite closure of WIPP. Federal officials have said it could take years and a half-billion dollars to restart operations.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.