Environmental hazards may refer to any situation, state or event that poses a threat to the physical environment. Subsequently, all environmental hazards cause health problems. Chemical, physical, mechanical, biological or psychosocial, whatever type the hazard maybe, it always refers to a state of being frail. In today’s materialistic world, very few people actually care about what happens to the environment. In the name of achieving development they seek to destroy the very environment in which we live in. They forget that in the process, their lives too are being affected.
Environmental hazards affect living beings in numerous ways. One of the most important is how it affects our immune systems i.e. how it affects the body’s ability to fight against diseases.
Few major hazards
Air pollution occurs when a significant amount of harmful chemicals, biological materials or particulate matter is introduced into the atmosphere. Pollutants such as oxides of sulphur and nitrogen can cause serious health hazards. It causes a number of respiratory illnesses and cardiovascular diseases. Exposure to harmful pollutants leads to immune system.
The contamination of water bodies by harmful chemicals is known as water pollution. It occurs when contaminants are discharged directly into the water bodies. Exposure to heavy metals from industrial processes can lead to slow development. It can also cause birth defects in the newborn. The toxic compounds in industrial waste can cause immune suppression or reproductive failure. Moreover it also gives rise to a number of water-borne diseases. For example, the virus Hepatitis C attacks the liver causing inflammation. It causes the immune system to break down and makes the person vulnerable to more diseases.
Depletion of Ozone
Ozone depletion refers to the thinning of the ozone layer which is the layer of ozone gas that acts as a blanket protecting the earth from the harmful ultraviolet radiations of the sun. Although ozone by itself is highly toxic, it shields the inhabitants of the earth from several problems. Damage to this layer can occur from the usage of chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. In humans, the primary armor from the world outside is the skin. The molecules of skin undergo a wide variety of changes upon absorbing the ultraviolet radiations. When the immune system reacts to this, the inflammatory response can compromise other functions of skin. Problems might occur when an external infectious agent attacks or when a cancer cell develops. Thus the hazards of UVR cause adverse conditions.
As with every problem, prevention is better than cure. It's high time that people take steps to control environmental hazards or it will be humans themselves who will be suffering.