Environmental Exposures and Health Womens Health

Womens health is a critical human survival issue in relation to natural and anthropogenic toxins in the environment. There are issues of toxins, allergens, viral and bacterial environmental threats that affect reproduction and fertility. Other environmental threats pass to developing fetuses, causing birth defects.

Still more threats relate to lactation and breastfeeding, which passes toxins to infants. There are issues of exposures to toxins during the early development of girls that lead to physiological disruptions and learning disabilities. There are issue of breast and reproductive cancers. Toxins and allergens can aggravate existing genetic or medical conditions or they can develop through varying levels and durations of exposure.

Major classes of environmental hazards include endocrine disruptors, occupational hazards, outdoor and indoor air pollution, extreme magnetic and electromagnetic fields, radioactivity and pesticides. Other classes of environmental hazards include natural toxins, viruses and bacteria, dust, pollen, poor sanitation, water pollution, and those environmental factors that decimate food production.

Of the man made hazards that affect women in serious ways, the endocrine disruptors, such as PCBs, dioxins, pesticides, solvents and flame retardants and the substances in household products are examples.

For women, natural and anthropogenic environmental hazards are responsible for or related to cancers, reproductive disorders, birth defects, and perinatal disorders. There are also learning and behavorial disorders and heart and respiratory problems.  

On a broader scale, natural disasters, wars, soil depeletion, aquatic biome food chain depletion and desertification create pollution, residual chemical and radiation and the perfect conditions for disease outbreaks. 

The transport of alien species of plants, communicable diseases, animals, fungus and insects can wreak havoc when there are no natural defenses. Mass, emergency migrations of humans create conditions where clean water, sufficient food and proper sanitation are unavailable, leading to the spread of disease, starvation and a spectrum of illnesses and deaths.

Women and girls are the most vulnerable and, given the vastly more important role in reproduction, gestation and early childhood development, threats to women’s health are greater threats.

Given that there are many, many man made toxins and hazards that interact with the body in very complex ways, the best resource for exploring the relationship between man made environmental toxins and hazards and women’s health, is to visit the US Environmental Protection agency (EPA) website and to use the “My Environment” tool by entering location or postal code. This bill bring up a comprehensive page of information about a neighborhood or area that is based on detailed reports to the EPA, with some international links, where such detailed data is collected and made available on line.

The EPA Environmapper allows deep research that incorporates Google Maps with linked information that accesses other databases to give great detail on health hazards of specific chemicals.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has an interactive Environmental Health and Toxicologysite, where specific environmental concerns and their related health issues can be identified and researched in great detail.

In summary, the more that individuals research their own exposures and become aware of the specific issues, the more capable society will be of dealing with the effects of exposure. Medicine can only go so far in relating exposures to specific diseases and disorders. as a result the inability to make a connection between exposure and an individuals illness is far more common than we know.