[Human ecology and interdisciplinary cooperation for primary prevention of environmental risk factors for public health].

Katedra Biotechnologii Srodowiskowej i Ekologii, Wydzial GGiIS AGH, Kraków.
Przegla̧d lekarski 02/2007; 64 Suppl 4:35-41.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Human ecology makes a scientific base for more effective prevention against contamination of the air, water and food, and other environmental factors making common risk factors for human health. It integrates interdisciplinary cooperation of experts from natural, technological, socio-economical and other sciences. Complex study is necessary for better estimation of real risk factors for an individual person. This risk is connected with the exposure of people to pollutants in working places, housing environment, areas for recreation and by food (including synergistic effects). Such study implicates real tasks for representatives of different sciences (technological and agricultural in particular) as well as for teachers and journalists. Especially dangerous are environmental risk factors when principles of human ecology are not taking into consideration at the intensification of food production, processing and conservation, as well as at designing of housing environment (where the exposure to harmful physical, chemical and biological factors is the longest) and also while selecting of the main directions of development of technical infrastructure for motorization (e.g. designing of cars, roads and their surrounding). EU recognize study of the human ecology as basis for sustainable development (sponsoring e.g. diploma and doctoral studies in this field at the Free University of Brussels). Author's experiences connected with the participation as a visiting professor taking part in related training activity at this University as well as during study visits in several countries were useful for the introduction of human ecology in linkage with ecotoxicology and environmental biotechnology as the subject of study at environmental engineering at the Faculty of Mining Surveying and Environmental Engineering at AGH-UST. Methodological experience of 40 years of interdisciplinary case studies and problem-oriented education in this field may be useful for modernization of training activity in ecologically-based primary prevention. Training in this important field is not adequate in medical, technological, and also natural subjects of studies. There is not enough opportunity for education of the students and graduates toward the application of integrated system approach of new achievements in different sciences and technologies. Interesting are experiences connected with long-term case studies in highly polluted regions in Poland, Japan, India, as well as exchange of methodological experiences during the series of International Summer Schools on the Human Environment from 1972, as well as during series of 11 International Conferences on Sustainable Development organized at AGH-UST from 1989 to 2006 and Polish Conferences in 2004 and 2007. It seems necessary not only to develop a training of experts that would be adequate to present needs, but also education of the whole society (including formal activities at all levels of education) as well as informal education (e.g. at Open Universities and Distance Education, based on the Internet) to achieve the integration of activity of scientists, practitioners and the whole society. It would be useful to focus this activity on crucial problems and selected regions. Let me propose as the top priority for inhabitants of Tarnow region as well as pilot projects for Poland; utilization of all possible achievements of science and technology for primary prevention of health hazard for inhabitants of Gmina Szczucin that is very polluted by asbestos, and also model management reducing risk factors for the natural environment and health of inhabitants in the regions of new motor-ways, as well as better primary prevention against flood accidents and connected with their effects (higher humidity of housing environment and its contamination by toxinogenic moulds) risk factors for health of communities living in rivers regions. For the purpose of optimisation of preventive action, it is necessary not only to apply the results of studies on human ecology and exchange experiences with specialists (e. g. within European projects), but also to perform better integration of the activities of experts, local society and regional administration.