Today, with the changing pace in life, we are prone to environmental pollution and stress. Air pollution can cause a whole range of health problems worldwide. Urban and rural outdoor environments have toxicants and irritants. These toxic substances can reduce the quality of life and also pose some trouble to cause disease.
Indoor air is not very safe from pollution too. Lesser ventilation from incorrect construction practices, sealed homes and office buildings also aggravate health risks of living and working indoors.
It is not just the lungs and lower respiratory tract which gets affected due to environmental pollution and stress, but also the eyes, the ears, the nose, and the skin. When these parts of the body are exposed to environmental pollution, it can cause a whole lot of problems relating to health. It is not just the lung that is a gateway for hazardous pollutants, but also the gastrointestinal tract. Not just lung cancer, but also bladder cancer can happen due to environmental pollution. Sometimes lead may be inhaled through the lung. This will have an effect on bone, blood and the central nervous system. Carbon monoxide present in the external atmosphere gains access to the body by the lung and affects the cardiovascular system.
Smoke-free airlines were unthinkable some 20 odd years ago. Smoke-free workplace was unheard of 5 years ago. In spite of advances and accomplishments in past few years, much more research, public health education, and public advocacy are needed to implement and bring further changes in the system to control environmental pollution. The increasing cases of asthma correlates with the rising ozone levels in cities, say some experts.
Reduced ventilation in cities due to bad construction has resulted in complaints which are related to the "Sick Building Syndrome" (SBS). The symptoms if SBS include headache, fatigue, malaise, mental confusion, eye and throat irritation, and coughing and wheezing. Assessing the relationship between exposure to air pollutants and disease is aggravated by the problem of multiple exposures to a multiple pollutants. Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) arises only through the combined effects of a number of chemicals in concentrations in the air.
Certain environmental toxins can affect the endocrine and reproductive systems. Some harmful effects on these vital body systems have been observed in people and also in farm animals and wildlife. Some studies have marked that sperm counts have declined over the last 50 years. There also appears to be an increase in congenital and developmental abnormalities. The incidence of endometriosis is increasing and the life span is also declining. It has been noticed that many chemicals present in environmental pollution can hamper the hormones. When these "environmental hormones" are inhaled through air pollution, they can mimic the effects of the body's natural hormones. This can disrupt a number of important biological processes.