- Minamata disease was first discovered in Minamata city, Japan in 1956.
- It is caused due to the release of industrial waste containing mercury into the water body.
- Mercury gets converted into methylmercury and bioaccumulate in fishes. These fishes are consumed by the local population.
- Minamata is a neurological disease with the following symptoms:
- Numbness in hands and feet.
- General muscle weakness.
- Problem in hearing, speech and vision.
- The congenital form affects the foetus in the womb.
- In extreme cases, insanity, paralysis, coma and death follow within weeks of acquiring the disease.
- It was first documented in Japan in 1912. It is also called ‘ouch- ouch’ disease.
- The term citai-itai’ disease was coined by the locals due to the severe pain felt in the spine and joints.
- The disease occurs from cadmium poisoning and leads to the softening of bones and kidney failure.
Blue Baby Syndrome
- Blue baby syndrome refers to the bluish appearance of body. Blue baby syndrome can occur due to multiple reasons.
- It is also believed to be caused by the consumption of high nitrate content in water which leads to decrease in the oxygen-carrying capacity of haemoglobin, particularly among children.
- Pneumoconiosis is also called ‘black lung disease. It is caused by the deposition of coal dust in the lungs of coal miners.
- Thus, it affects the respiratory system of the victims. ENVIRONMENTAL DISEASES
- Workers working in the asbestos industry suffer from asbestosis (a lung disease) due to the inhalation of asbestos.
- It is caused by the deposition of silica in the lungs of workers working in the silica industry or at the sandblasting sites.
- The breaking down of sensitive tissues of lungs due to air pollution and smoke is called emphysema.
- At the onset of this disease, lungs cannot contract and expand properly.
Sick Building Syndrome
- The Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a combination of ailments associated with an individual’s place of work.
- Mostly SBS is caused due to poor air quality inside the factory premises. ENVIRONMENTAL DISEASES
Health Effects of Certain Substances
- Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) is known for its insecticidal properties and environmental impacts.
- A worldwide ban on agricultural use was formalised under the Stockholm Convention on POPs, but its limited and controversial use in vector control still continues.
Regular use of DDT has the following consequences:
- Toxic pesticides such as DDT are not easily degradable and hence persist in the environment. The concentration of DDT keeps on increasing in water and soil with successive applications.
- DDT is known to depress the activity of estrogens (female sex hormone) and testosterone (male sex hormone).
- Birds are also vulnerable to DDT. DDT interferes in the release of hormones, resulting in fragile eggs which break before the young ones are hatched.
Lead in Paints
- Lead in paints is believed to cause serious neurological problems. It can damage the nervous system. Young children are particularly vulnerable.
- Inhalation of lead dust during the opening and closing of windows is the most common source of lead poisoning.
- Lead is used in paints as it enhances the performance of paints and reduces the cost of production. ENVIRONMENTAL DISEASES