Throughout history, humans have been exposed to environmental risk: natural disasters like floods and earthquakes, extremes of heat and cold, and naturally occurring poisons.
As our technology has become more complex, however, and as development has encroached on nature, new threats have arisen from the changing environment.
Some of the threats are direct and immediate: acute carbon monoxide posioning from misuse of indoor combustion appliances, for example.
Other threats are more insidious, and may take many years before their effects become apparent. We are exposed to numerous chemical pollutants in the air, water and the food we eat, and to radiation from electrical appliances, radioactive substances and UV rays – which are increasingly implicated in raised risk for illnesses like cancer, and reproductive and developmental problems.
- Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth Editor, Health24, April 2012