Aging and Environmental Health


Older adults face increased risks from exposure to environmental health contaminants.  Part of the normal aging process, our bodies become more susceptible to environmental health threats which may worsen chronic conditions.  Additionally, the bodies of older adults have accumulated a lifetime of environmental and occupational contaminants.

EHP – Aging Society and Environmental Health Challenges: “With advancing age of the population, the prevalence of age-related diseases tends to increase dramatically. Thus, to reduce the burden of age-related diseases, it is important to identify and avoid potential risk factors for diseases such as cancer, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disorders. Among the many factors that affect the aging process, environmental exposure is one of the modifiable risk factors. Therefore, we need to better understand the risks to the elderly from environmental exposure. Environmental pollutants and chemicals adversely influence the homeostatic status of aging, frequently resulting in development of certain diseases at an earlier age than expected.”

Environmental toxins and heart disease  The EPA has great online resources to help you teach your patients and community members about the links between environmental pollutants and heart disease.  These resources are available in multiple languages and include how to find your Air Quality Index, get your drinking water tested, and reduce environmental exposures both indoors and outdoors.

Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging  This report from Physicians for Social Responsibility takes a closer look at Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases.

EPA’s Aging Initiative   Resources for older adults including fact sheets on chronic disease and environmental exposures, local contacts and organizations, and the EPA’s Guide to Smart Growth and Active Aging.

Environmental Health and Nursing See Unit _______