Area

Problems

Radiation

• Nuclear facility emissions

• Radioactive nuclear waste

• Radon gas seepage in homes and schools

• Nuclear testing

• Excessive exposure to X-rays

• Ultraviolet radiation (UV-B) due to global depletion of stratospheric ozone

Violence

• Proliferation of handguns

• Pervasive images of violence in the media

• Violent acts against women and children

• Excessive incidents of violence in workplaces, schools, and community settings

 

SOURCE: Adapted from Stevens and Hall, 1993.

occurs. A large proportion of asthmatics are allergic to indoor allergens, including foreign proteins, and exposure to these allergens can be reduced or minimized through various measures. According to the IOM, improved public and professional education are essential for the prevention and control of indoor allergic disease. Nursing education should emphasize the importance of recognition and proper management of these diseases (IOM, 1993). Paralleling increased pollution of both indoor and outdoor air, the incidence of childhood asthma has risen sharply in the last 2–3 decades. For some age groups (e.g., girls aged 5–14 years) the incidence has doubled or tripled (Yunginger, 1992). In addition, adverse health effects associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution disproportionately affect some populations; asthma mortality rates among African Americans are 3–5 times greater than among Caucasians (IOM, 1993).

Pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables, and the bioaccumulation of chemicals in fish and seafood are additional concerns: it is estimated that 25 percent of all rivers, lakes, and streams in the United States cannot support "beneficial uses," including fishing and swimming, due to widespread pollution (DHHS, 1990). Contaminants with the potential to adversely affect human health include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury. Disadvantaged populations who consume larger quantities of contaminated fish caught in local waters experience a greater burden of exposure than members of other socioeconomic groups. Nurses working in community and public health settings could assist in educating the public about the hazards (or safety) of diets that consist of fish and



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