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Pollution, greenhouse gases, and consequences of global warming

What are the hazardous substances that may be found in drinking water and what are their impacts on our health?
Describe how water is made safe for human consumption.
Epidemiologic analyses have demonstrated a correlation between an increase in total daily mortality and an increase in air pollution. Provide examples to explain how historically significant fatal air pollution episodes (that were characterized by extreme increases in air pollution) lead to increase in mortality.
Describe how greenhouse gases contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Explain the term "global warming" and present arguments in favor of and against the proposition that global warming has occurred during the past century. What environmental outcomes have been attributed to global warming?

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What are the hazardous substances that may be found in drinking water and what are their impacts on our health?

There are three things to think about regarding hazardous substances in drinking water. The first that comes to my mind relates to bacterial contamination, typically from cross contamination with waste sources, either human or animal. Typhoid and cholera are two human bacterial diseases spread by contaminated drinking water. Tularemia is another disease spread primarily by animal waste contaminating domestic water supplies, usually private wells. Other diseases can also be spread this way, but these are three of the classical ones. If you want to look further, search on John Snow and the Broad Street pump—it's the classic story of stopping a cholera outbreak.

Then there are the direct toxins which can occur naturally, e.g., arsenic, lead, bismuth, excessive fluoride (not fluoridation levels), soluble salts of radioactive substances, e.g., uranium, thorium, radium. Other toxins such as dioxin, DDT, organophosphates and other pesticides can also get into drinking water supplies often in runoff from fields.

Finally, we need to think about hormones and hormone mimics. Estrogen from birth control medication that cross contaminates drinking water from sewage is an example. Some researchers believe the ever earlier puberty ages being seen relate to this. Phthalates (plasticizers) are another example. There substances can be leached out of plastic bottles containing drinking water if they are part of the plastic manufacture. Most have been banned.

Describe how water is made safe for human consumption.

This is usually accomplished by chlorination, though ozonation is also used in some facilities. Both of these agents are very active oxidizing agents ...

Solution Summary

Pollution of water and the atmosphere are significant, and these are the leading causes of current problems causing multiple health effects. This pollution is compounded by the process of global warming leading to severe weather events, rising sea levels, and changes in the basic chemistry of the oceans. This solution discusses whether these processes can be significantly reversed through control measures remains an open question.