Other Environmental Health Hazards
A number of other factors, such as poor nutrition, insufficient
physical activity and stress, may increase one's likelihood of
illness following exposure to environmental health hazards.
Heat and Humidity
In the Houston area, heat and humidity are environmental health
hazards. High humidity impedes the body's ability to cool itself.
This is a particular problem for the elderly. Cities such as
are up to 10 degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside due to a
phenomenon known as the "urban heat island" effect. This is largely the
result of the predominance of concrete, asphalt and other such
surfaces that hold heat, not allowing the area to cool off at night.
For more information and ways to make Houston cooler, visit the
Houston Advanced Research Center's
Inadequate nutrition or irregular eating patterns can undermine
the body's ability to detoxify and excrete pollutants, and to
properly repair DNA damage.
Insufficient Physical Activity
Regular physical activity promotes muscle, decreases fat (and
fat-stored toxic chemicals such as DDT and PCBs), and increases the
oxygenation of organs. Improved immune response, improved DNA repair
activity and decreased physical and psychological stress are also
associated with regular physical activity.
Although some stress may be beneficial and necessary for peak performance,
excessive stress is associated with decreased immune function and an
increased risk of environmentally related illness.