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How Does Pollution In Large Cities Affect Human Health?

1501 words - 7 pages

How does pollution in large cities affect human health?
It is generally believed that the development of industrialization and urbanization brings about not only the rapid progress of economic growth, but also the widespread of multiple kinds of pollution, especially in large cities where the speed of development is extraordinarily fast, which poses an acute threat to human health. A variety of investigations have explored the effects on human health in a number of urban areas all over the world. As the impacts of pollution on human health are of significance, it is worthwhile to examine them deeply. This essay will introduce three major types of pollution, namely air pollution, land ...view middle of the document...

, 2003). It found that when the level of sulfur dioxide rose, the number of people who got cardiovascular diseases increased sharply, which indicated that sulfur dioxide could cause cardiovascular events (ibid.). In addition, sulfur dioxide can be transformed into sulfur-containing acid during a chemical reaction with other materials in the air and may cause pulmonary and respiratory diseases. Chongqing, a city of China, has suffered from serious acid rain because the coal burned contained high levels of sulfur, causing citizens to get respiratory diseases since 1970 (Sakamoto et al., 2001). Except for acid rain, smog which contains high levels of sulfur dioxide can also have a negative impact on human health (Enger and Smith 2004). Wichmann et al. (1989) has observed that smog lasted for five days in West Germany (mainly in Dusseldorf) in January 1985, which led to 24,000 citizens dead, 19,900 being sick and 1,250,000 consulting doctors about health problems caused by smog. The dramatic number shows that smog with large quantities of sulfur dioxide could be a health hazard.
Particulate matter is another type of air pollution that consists of mixed particles in the form of solid-state, liquid-state or both (WHO Europe, 2005). Concentration of particulate matter can result in health issues including mild symptoms like cough, bronchitis as well as sore throat, and severe symptoms such as lung cancer, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and even death (ibid.). According to Romieu et al. (1996), from April 24 to May 25, 1991, research on 71 children (aged 5 to 13) with mild asthma who lived in Mexico City where particulate matter was in high levels showed that while the coughing prevalence among these children was only 18.3% with the average levels of daily particulate being lower than 108µg/m3, the proportion increase to 28.7% when the levels were equal to or over 196µg/m3. Data from the research illustrate that when particulate matter levels rose, more people incur respiratory symptoms.
Apart from air pollution, land pollution is another kind of crises people are facing now, which has a direct effect on human health. As Enger and Smith (2004) pointed out, solid wastes are major land pollution in large cities. Such wastes mainly include industrial wastes, household hazardous wastes and medical wastes. Cimino (1975) had tested that people who lived close to solid wastes might get severe health problems such as coronary heart disease (CHD), respiratory diseases and skin disease. Research undertaken from 1968 to 1969 in New York City among sanitation men frequently exposed to wastes showed that the incidence of them getting CHD is almost a doubling of males of other jobs at the similar age. There is another example mentioned by Elliott et al. (1996) that more than 14 million people who resided next to incinerators in cities in Great Britain got cancer from 1974 to 1987, which suggests the association between cancer incidence and solid...

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