Disease Caused by Environmental Exposure

In epidemiology, environmental disease is disease caused by environmental factors that are not transmitted genetically or by infection. Apart from the true monogenic genetic disorders, environmental diseases may determine the development of disease in those genetically predisposed to a particular condition.

Stress, physical and mental abuse, diet, exposure to toxins, pathogens, radiation, and chemicals found in almost all personal care products and household cleaners are possible causes of a large segment of non-hereditary disease. If a disease process is concluded to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factor influences, its etiological origin can be referred to as having a multifactorial pattern.

There are many different types of environmental disease including: * Lifestyle disease such as cardiovascular disease, diseases caused by substance abuse such as alcoholism, and smoking-related disease * Disease caused by physical factors in the environment, such as skin cancer caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight * Disease caused by exposure to chemicals in the environment such as toxic metals * These diseases can also be mutated and can thrive in the unnatural environment through rubbish that isn’t discarded and no sewerage systems.

These factors can hurt a nation or an individual quite easily. Categories of environmental disease * First, there are those caused by the ancient metals: lead and mercury. * Then there are those caused by the other metals: arsenic, phosphorus, and zinc. * The newer metals can also cause environmental disease: beryllium, cadmium, chromium, manganese, nickel, cobalt, osmium, platinum, selenium, tellurium, thallium, uranium, and vanadium.

* Additionally, there are environmental diseases caused by the aromatic carbon compounds including : benzene, hexachlorocyclohexane, toluene diisocyanate, phenol, pentachlorophenol,quinone and hydroquinone. Also included are the aromatic nitro-, amino-, and pyridilium-deratives: nitrobenzene, dinitrobenzene, trinitrotoluene, paramethylaminophenol sulfate (Metol), dinitro-ortho-cresol, aniline,trinitrophenylmethylnitramine (tetryl), hexanitrodiphenylamine (aurantia), phenylenediamine[disambiguation needed], and parquet. The aliphatic carbon compounds can also cause environmental disease.

Included in these are methanol, nitroglycerine, nitrocellulose, dimethylnitrosamine, and the halogenated hydrocarbons: methyl, methyl bromide, trichloroethylene, carbon tetrachloride, and the chlorinated naphthalene. Also included are glycols: ethylene chlorohydrins and diethylene dioxide as well as carbon, acrylonitrile, acryl amide, and vinyl chloride. * Other important chemical causes of environmental diseases are the noxious gases which can be categorized as: Simple asphyxiates, chemical asphyxiates, and irritant gases.

The simple asphixiants are nitrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide. The chemical asphyxiates are carbon monoxide, sulfuretted hydrogen and hydrogen cyanide. The irritant gases are sulfur dioxide, ammonia, nitrogen dioxide, chlorine, phosgene, and fluorine and its compounds, which include luroine and hydrofluoric acid, fluorspar, fluorapatite, cryolite, and organic fluorine compounds. While many infectious diseases are caused by human-to-human transmission, others are caused by microorganisms that exist in the outside environment.

Scientists from a variety of fields, including medicine and the environment, must work together to address the challenges posed by these environmental pathogens, according to a new report, From Outside to Inside: Environmental Microorganisms as Human Pathogens, released today by the American Academy of Microbiology. “The key difference between environmental pathogens and other human pathogens is their ability to survive and thrive outside the host.

Their widespread occurrence in the environment makes them difficult to monitor and control,” says Gerard Cangelosi of theSeattle Biomedical Research Institute at the University of Washington, one of the authors of the report. “The fields of medical and environmental microbiology need to be better integrated to stimulate the type of work that is required to combat environmental pathogens effectively, and the development and improvement of surveillance and reporting strategies should be a top priority.

” Environmental pathogens are defined as microorganisms that normally spend a substantial part of their lifecycle outside human hosts, but when introduced to humans cause disease with measurable frequency. They are carried in the water, soil, air, food and other parts of the environment and can affect almost every individual on the planet. Some examples of environmental pathogens include Legionella pneumophila (the cause of Legionnaires disease, often found in air conditioning systems), West Nile virus, and Cryptosporidium parvum (a parasite that can be found in food, drinking water and recreational waters).

In addition to better integration of medical and environmental research, the report recommends more effective monitoring of pathogens in the environment to allow researchers to better understand the incidence and persistence of pathogens in areas that are considered to be at risk for harboring these organisms. Multidisciplinary research must also be fostered to better predict how changes in the environment may affect the frequency of environmental diseases.

“These threats to human health can only be assessed in a comprehensive multidisciplinary context in which ecology, epidemiology, and emerging areas in environmental engineering and microbiology are integrated. This combined approach can yield immediate and long-term health benefits by mitigating established environmental risks, identifying risky situations for disease emerging and finding the causes of diseases of unknown etiology,” says Cangelosi. The report is the result of a colloquium convened by the Academy in February 2004 to discuss environmental pathogens and the current state of research on these organisms.

Scientists with expertise in infectious diseases, food microbiology, bacteriology, molecular, microbial ecology, pathogenic mycology and other areas in the microbiological sciences participated. Participants considered the knowledge gaps related to the incidence and epidemiology of environmental infectious diseases, dynamics of human pathogens in the environment, ways to alleviate environmental infectious diseases, research needs in the field and education and communication issues.  Causes of Environmental diseases.

Environmental diseases are caused by chemical agents, radiation, and physical hazards. The effects of exposure, in both natural and work settings, are greatly influenced by the exposure routes: primarily air pollution and water pollution, contaminated food, and direct contact with toxins. Synergistic affects—two or more toxic exposures acting together—are also important, as illustrated by the greatly increased risk of lung cancer in asbestos workers who smoke cigarettes. The potential interaction of multiple hazardous chemicals at toxic waste dumps poses a current public health problem that is of unknown dimensions.

Industrial society has introduced or increased human exposure to thousands of chemicals in the environment. Examples are inorganic materials such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and asbestos, and organic substances such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), vinyl chloride, and the pesticide DDT. Of particular concern is the delayed potential for these chemicals to produce cancer, as in the cases of lung cancer and mesothelioma caused by asbestos, liver cancer caused by vinyl chloride, and leukemia caused by benzene.

Minamata disease, caused by food contaminated with mercury, and Yusho disease, from food contaminated with chlorinated furans, are examples of acute toxic illnesses occurring in nonoccupational settings. The full toxic potential of most environmental chemicals has not been completely tested. The extent and frequency of an illness are related to the dose of toxin, in degrees depending on the toxin. For chronic or delayed effects such as cancer or adverse reproductive effects, no “safe” dose threshold may exist below which disease is not produced.

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