Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Published 03 Jan 2017


EPA aims at keeping environment clean from hazardous substances in our environment. Its clients are the population of United Sates specifically and the rest of world globally. There are many people associated and employed including researchers, scientists, doctors, PhDs, masters of biotechnology, microbiology, biochemistry and marine biology etc. It is a governmental owned agency working to protect health of people by striving to keep environment clean. EPA is working to clean air from the following hazardous materials. These include, smoke, acidRain, asbestos, Beaches, hazardousWaste, lead, mercury, mold, oilSpills, pesticides, radon, wastes.

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A report from Environmental Protection Agency states that environmental air of United States is 100% contaminated with hazardous carcinogenic chemical produced from industries, which exceeds the safety level mark recommend by EPA. According to EPA estimate there are “148 industrial poisons in 60, 803 census tracts” (EPA).

This toxic concentration of outdoor air also penetrates and equally contaminates indoor air to somewhat same extent and is equally hazardous. Working in closed environment with air conditioner ‘ON’ does not protect us from this danger because contaminated air gradually penetrates into the indoor air through windows and doors.

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In addition, different types of chemicals in the environment jointly produce adverse effects and everyone is exposed to these simultaneously, which exaggerates danger to cancerous diseases. These chemicals have saturated the air to the extent that they have broke the standards set by EPA and are producing unsafe health effects, though no such standards were set to study its effects on specific malfunctioning of the body. Though, EPA has listed up to eight dangerous chemical pollutants but now exposure is much more severe and has reached threatening level that each of us is exposed to numerous industrial poisons more than just eight listed by EPA. These toxicants carcinogens are devastating.

EPA file suit against Raymark Industries

EPA filed a case against Raymark Industries because they were actively involved in asbestos brake manufacturing.

“EPA filed suit against Raymark Industries, Inc. a former asbestos brake manufacturer in Stratford, Connecticut, to recoup $200 million in past and future federal cleanup costs of polluted soils at the facility and other locations where contamination has spread. The suit also seeks to force the judicial sale of the Raymark property so that redevelopment efforts at the site can be realized. Raymark is a federal Superfund site.” (EPA Release 1997)

Most dangerous types of environmental contaminants are Pesticides, including insect killers, weed, fungi and rodent control killers and fumigants.

Electrical and magnetic lines produced from electromagnetic devices like mobile phones and other electrical devices may have carcinogenic effect. However, increasing distance with such devices, reducing time spent within EMF fields will make its effects minimal.

Asbestos, which is mostly used for fire extinguishers and construction material may increase risk to lung cancer with exposure to long period of time. Extreme care should be taken for use of such dangerous chemicals. It is important to seal off the area where work with asbestos containing substance is going on. While working with these types of chemicals it is important to cover completely with masks and gloves. Also formaldehyde gases used in construction processes may have carcinogenic effect.

Drinking water is also contaminated with toxins especially the chlorinated water. Research shows that chlorinated water contains toxic by-product of chlorine and long-term exposure to it may cause cancer of colon and bladder. Use of disinfectants in water though may save us from diseases caused by pathogenic organisms but it increases risk of cancer. For diminishing microbial content of water other protective methods should be employed.

“Using an emergency authority provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA ordered the National Guard to cease artillery training exercises at the Massachusetts Military Reservation. The base sits on top of Cape Cod’s sole aquifer that provides drinking water to some 500,000 citizens. This is the first time EPA has used this authority to protect groundwater under an active military range and has been the impetus for other states to investigate similar actions, and for the military to review its practices at other bases.” (EPA Release, 2007) Hazards of inhaling passive smoke from cigarette or industrial smoke are more dangerous than other air pollutants.That is smoke from tobacco has more dangerous carcinogenic effect.

Radiations generated from various radioactive devices have adverse environmental carcinogenic effects. Cosmic rays, ultraviolet and x-rays, which are ionizing radiations, are carcinogenic. However, long-term exposure to them produces such effects and only after 10-15 years later the effect were produced. Industrial areas expose greater risk to cancer.

Smoke emitted from automobiles contains carbon monoxide to threatening level and adds to the bio-contaminants of human breath. Certain carcinogens are unsafe for pregnant woman and may produce birth defects. Nitrogen fertilizers used mainly for crop may cause contamination underground water.

Landfills used mainly for dumping in solid wastes may cause excessive toxic carcinogens in underground water. Concentration of lead is also very high in environment. Radon gas produced from radioactive decay increases risk of lung cancer.

EPA recommendations against the case

Concerned agencies should take important steps improving wastewater purification plant to get eliminate toxic elements from water. In addition, an immense need is to clean superfund sites where toxic-wastes are disposed off and has reached to dangerous level. Additional plants are to remove pollution from drinking and irrigation water.

New law and legislation is needed to prohibit manufacturing and working with these dangerous chemicals regarded as carcinogens. Risk of developing cancer varies according to different geographical areas. The need is to modernize working environment with new processing machines and implement new methods of production. Keep cleaning working and residential environment to the maximum. Further step is to recycle and reuse garbage and other chemical by-products to reduce waste products disposal to the minimum extent. In addition, one method is to reverse the chemical reactions and reacting dangerous compounds with reactive chemicals to convert it to usable and beneficial compounds.

There is also need to change risk assessment methods because inpidual’s susceptibility to these factors varies persely.

However, there is also a need to educate people about it and take appropriate measures to reduce carcinogen’s concentration in environment. Major step is to minimize the exposure of workers at workplace.

In the past and present there hasn’t been much success in preventing environmental pollution because of the poor planning, weak decisions and inadequate standards set to take control of it. Special need is to save children, patients suffering from CVD, diabetes, and other diseases rendering them to higher risk of cancer, and to save immuno-compromised patients. Because this can increase mortality rate due to cancer in any region where appropriate actions will not be taken.

Leukemia is a blood cancer caused by ionizing radiations. These radiations can also cause cancer of lungs, breast and thyroid. Acute lymphocytic leukemia is mostly caused by an additional factor dioxin. Death from these cancers can be reduced by minimizing this exposure to safe-healthy levels.

Ignoring to take any appropriate measures is increasing environmental concentrations of carcinogens to lethal levels. This is in turn increasing nationwide cancerous diseases every year. Threat to lymph cancers is also increasing in developed countries especially in industrialized areas. Susceptibility to these carcinogens is worse in patients with diseases of immune system. People with increased risk threats are those with immunocompromised diseases and those with workplace exposures.

Further research shows that PCB’s can also suppress immune system. It is due the plastics, waxes, carbonless carbon paper etc. It is widely distributed and it is very important to vanish it completely from the environment. Certain other factors, which are though not carcinogens but put adverse effects on the body’s health and immune system that makes a person susceptible to the development of cancer and other diseases. If appropriate actions will not be taken right now then carcinogen levels will continue to rise every year and will make next generation severely affected by it.

According to National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS), “Cancer is initiated partially or completely by environmental factors.” However, there are many more threats posed by these factors. It incurs additional costs of hospitalization, medicines, and loss of employment. In addition, billions of dollars of economic burden is to run new projects to clean heavily polluted environment.

Works Cited

  • Hoover, R.N. (1998). U.S. EPA Report On Air Carcinogens. National Cancer Institute. Published 1998
  • Lichtenstein P. Holm NV, Verkasalo PK, etal. Environmental and heritable factors in the causation of cancer. New England Journal of Medicine 2000;343:78-85
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