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Environmental Exposures and Human Health

  • By: Richard A. Stein & Devra Lee Davis
  • In: Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health
  • Edited by: James M. Rippe
  • Subject:Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine, Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology

A growing body of scientific evidence supports the idea that most disease states cannot be simply explained by inherited genetic mutations but are the result of biological perturbations initiated by various environmental factors. Evaluating the impact of environmental exposures on biological systems, an intriguing and fascinating field, is at the same time a highly dynamic topic, filled with controversy and debate. About 100,000 chemicals—most of which were developed prior to 1981—are widely used in the United States and the European Union. Few of these agents have been evaluated toxicologically. The National Academy of Sciences estimated in 1983 that less than 10% of all commercially used chemicals had been tested, a figure that did not change appreciably when the academy issued an update on this ...

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