Effects on human health

Effects On Human Health

Since World War 2 humans have had to live in a new chemical environment, increasingly surrounded by and taking in many pollutants created by our industries. Thousands of new chemicals are invented each year and tonnes of these new substances are released into the environment each year, entering our water, air and food. Only a few are ever tested thoroughly for their long term health effects.

Many of these wastes are known to be poisonous. Chemicals leaching from dumps into drinking water supplies is a major problem. This increase in the contamination of our environment is probably a major factor responsible for the increasing incidence of cancers. Some people argue that we a re experiencing an epidemic. Two worrying factors here are biological magnification, the way some harmful substances become more concentrated as they move up food chains. And synergism, the way some substances in our environment can interact with each other to have greater effects. For example, the probability of an asbestos worker who is a smoker contracting cancer is about 10 times as great as the probability for smokers in general or that for asbestos workers in general. These two factors together interact to produce a much greater risk. We have little idea how the many new chemicals we are exposed to could be interacting within us to cause illnesses, but the more we saturate own environment with new chemicals the more likely such effects are: