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Water and human health

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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.

After studying this 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 compounds5 explain what is meant by an endocrine disruptor.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 9 hours
  • Updated Wednesday 2nd March 2016
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under Biology
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Water and human health


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This course 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.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 1 study in Science [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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