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The environment and your health

Teenage girl out in the woods.

Everything around you affects the way that your body works and grows. This includes the sun, water, air, chemicals, and even noise! There are many things in the environment that are good for you, such as clean water and air, vitamin D that comes from the sun, and healthy foods. But there are also some hazards in the environment that can hurt you. These include dirty air or water, too much sun, really loud noises, and chemicals. By learning about hazards in your environment, you can take charge of your health and help clean up the earth at the same time!

This section of girlshealth.gov tells you all about the earth and how it is part of your health. You can learn about:

Remember: it’s up to each of us to do our part to keep the earth — and ourselves — healthy. You can start making a difference today by learning about environmental health and helping us get the word out to others!

What do these words mean?

When talking about the environment, we sometimes have to use words that can be long or hard to understand. Here is a little bit more about some hard words in this section:

Chemicals. (Say: KEM-ih-calls). Chemicals can be natural (like iron, silver, or mercury) or can be made by people (like cleaning supplies or bug spray).

Environment. (Say: en-VYE-URN-ment). The environment is everything around you. The air you breathe, water you drink, the ground you walk on, and food you eat are all part of your environment. It’s important that you know what things in the environment can affect your health and what you can do to help protect yourself and your family.

Hazard. (Say: HA-zurd). A hazard is a kind of danger that could hurt you.

Pesticides. (Say: PESS-tih-sides). Pesticides are chemicals used to kill pests such as insects, rodents, weeds, mold, and bacteria. Yet, these chemicals can also cause health problems in people.

Pollution. (Say: puh-LOO-shun). Pollution is putting something into the environment that makes it dirty.

 

Content last reviewed July 20, 2010
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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