Thursday, March 29, 2012

Exploring the link between Health Science and the Environment

     Today I am happy to present a guest post by Jocelyn Salada. Jocelyn is an independent researcher and writer interested in the environment and global health. When not relaxing with a good book, she is avidly researching topics at the intersection of medicine and life expectancy. Someday she hopes to pursue health science in a more rigorously academic way.

     For more than half a century, health research has been vital to eradicating disease and understanding the origins of human health issues. Some of the research on the more obvious links between, for example, air pollution and lung disease, has been expanded into deeper research in a field known as environmental health. This wide branch of health science, which studies how both man-made and natural ecologies impact human health, will have an increasingly important role in the prevention and management of diseases on a global scale.

     While environmental health science looks at the impact of a variety of factors such as the use of chemicals, one of the most vital elements of this field focuses on energy consumption, the environment and public health. The U.S. Department of Energy says that while most people assume their cars use the most energy, our homes and businesses use more energy, particularly electricity. The power plants that generate electricity often use fossil fuels which in turn produce greenhouse gases that may lead to global warming.

     The impact of global warming on the planet may be generally understood by most people, but the long-term implications of energy use on human health currently is under research by engineers as well as health scientist. The types of energy consumed and the way energy is generated, including nuclear power, solar power, wind power, electrical power plants, gas and oil, each has an impact on human health. A variety of studies are currently available that share research on the link between the environment and health sciences.

     A recent article exploring the evolution of environmental health science through the lens of several prominent case studies can be found here: Health Science and the Environment.