Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Environmental Destruction: Tangible Consequences In Our Time...Must Read


Environmental Destruction: Tangible Consequences In Our Time


While certainly we, as a country, seem to have developed a more pronounced environmental conscience in recent years, it is likely that not all people will fully appreciate the full scope of the problem. That’s OK, because all we need is a desire to learn and change our attitudes to begin to turn things around. One aspect of environmental destruction that is unlikely to be at the forefront of the average person’s knowledge regarding the health of our planet is the planet’s health as it relates to human health. Let us examine a few tiers of real health consequences being caused by or that exist as bi-products of environmental destruction.

The first of the health consequences associated with backwards environmental attitudes are the direct consequences. In areas with high smog indices (smog as it is associated with carbon fuel emissions) we see a much higher incidence of asthma among those who live in the surrounding areas. In areas with depleted atmospheric ozone such as South Africa and Australia (associated with the release of chlorofluorocarbons) we see skin cancer rates higher than anywhere else on earth, due mainly to the constant barrage of unadulterated ultraviolet light that is typically cut by the denser ozone layer on other parts of the planet.

Then there are more indirect health hazards posed by destructive environmental attitudes. Working conditions, for instance, in many of the dirty industries associated with environmental hazards are among the worst in the modern world. In the processing of oil and petroleum, exposure to asbestos and benzene (both associated with the development of cancer) is common. For this reason, it should be no surprise that mesothelioma (cancer associated with asbestos exposure) incidence is much higher in oil refinery workers. In addition to asbestos cancer, incidences of cancers associated with benzene exposure (brain cancer, lung cancer, and blood cancer) are likewise higher in those who have worked in petroleum processing.

We can reverse course on this however. The health effects we see today can be avoided in the future if we begin to adopt progressive energy policies un-reliant on traditional fossil fuels and invest in alternatives. Ozone depletion is serious in some parts of the world, but can be halted through responsible emissions regulations. What we stand to gain is not only a cleaner planet for our children to inherit, but also a healthier planet for us to inhabit in our time.

By Jack Bleaker

Posted at the request of:

Brian Turner

Public Relations Assistant


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