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Water is a natural resource that is vital for human survival and health, although only a tiny fraction of the Earth's supply is available to humans and terrestrial animals. In this free course, Water and human health, we look at threats, such as pollution, to water's capacity to support life around the world.
By the end of this free course you should be able to:
- define and use in context, or recognise definitions and applications of, each of the terms printed in bold in the text;
- identify some of the reasons why clean, fresh water is an increasingly scarce resource for many people in the world;
- explain what is meant by the bioaccumulation of xenobiotic chemicals and identify the implications that this has for what people can safely eat;
- distinguish between the effects on human health of high and low levels of environmental pollution by nitrogen compounds;
- explain what is meant by an endocrine disruptor.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Water as a global resource
- 2 The global water cycle
- 3 The distribution of water and its use by people
- 4 Chemical pollution of water
- 4.1 Levels of toxic substances
- 4.2 DDT: a classic case in ecotoxicology
- 4.3 Mercury
- 4.4 Nitrogen: a developing threat to health
- 4.5 Endocrine disruptors
- 4.6 Postscript to Section 4
- 5 Unit summary
- 6 Self-assessment questions
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Water and human health
This unit examines why water shortages are predicted as a result of the world's growing population and the importance of access to clean and safe drinking water in public health. It looks at the distribution of water throughout the world and problems with contamination, topics of wide general interest.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 12th May 2011
Last updated on: Tuesday, 19th July 2011
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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