Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
In these public service videos from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, learn how to minimize exposure to pesticides, chemical contaminants, and secondhand smoke. Through simple demonstrations, the videos describe the importance of washing the skin after coming into contact with pesticides, how to safely use household chemicals to prevent harmful vapors from escaping into the air, and how to gently confront smokers to avoid secondhand smoke.
When people discuss the environment, they are usually referring to the natural world: forests and rivers, the air, and the ocean. But the word environment also refers to the immediate surroundings of any object. Your day-to-day environment—your house, yard, school, and neighborhood—can impact your health as much as the condition of the natural world can.
In residential areas, pesticides are commonly applied to lawns and gardens to keep pests, such as weeds and insects, under control. However, the chemicals in pesticides can be harmful to human health. Exposure to pesticides can cause short-term effects ranging in severity from minor skin irritation to seizures and anaphylactic shock, in which breathing becomes difficult. There are also potential long-term effects from pesticide exposure, including increased risk of cancer and reproductive and developmental problems. To reduce the likelihood of health impacts, wash skin well immediately after exposure to pesticides—for example, if you were playing on a lawn treated with pesticides. Because pesticides are often used on agricultural crops, people can also be exposed to pesticides by eating fruits and vegetables that have been grown using the chemicals. Therefore, wash produce thoroughly before eating, or buy organic produce that was grown without pesticides.
Cleaning products and gasoline are other common chemical contaminants found around the house. The vapors from such products can affect the quality of the air. Whenever you smell a chemical odor, it is an indication that you are inhaling those chemicals. For example, gasoline has a distinctive smell that you may recognize at the gas station or near a lawn mower. These gasoline vapors can contribute to pollution and smog, which can cause respiratory problems. Gasoline vapors can also directly cause health problems, such as kidney damage and cancer. At the gas station, special nozzles at the gas pump capture vapors before they can escape into the air. At home, people can minimize their exposure to gasoline vapors by being careful about how they use it: work in a well-ventilated area, pour it carefully to avoid spills, and keep containers covered.
Secondhand tobacco smoke contains many substances that are hazardous and can lead to health problems such as lung cancer, respiratory illnesses, and ear infections. The best way to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke is to not allow people to smoke in your home and to avoid places where smoking is allowed. Secondhand tobacco smoke is a common asthma trigger, especially in children. When someone has an asthma attack, airways narrow and swell and breathing becomes difficult. Although there is no cure for asthma, the symptoms can be controlled. If you are affected by asthma, remember to take the medication that is prescribed to you and limit the things in your home that trigger asthma attacks, such as secondhand smoke, dust mites, mold, pollen, and pets.
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We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.