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National public health week?

February 28, 2008

Were all very aware currently that we should prevent from using plastic bags, switch lights off when not needed and buy free range to protect the chickens. I thought this was all brilliant- the UK’s getting greener!

However when I found out that America has a public health week that focuses on the environmental issues that affect their health.


It got me wondering if I’d been totally oblivious to the UK’s health week. Where was ours? I googled away and found that we have Fair trade fortnight, Obesity awareness week, Hospital broadcasting week, Recycle now week, World environment day, National organic week and National tree week that all focus on providing the nation with environmental and health issues but I’m afraid to say I’d not heard of a single one of them. I felt rather guilty that I’d been totally unaware of such weeks and days.

Public health week has been up and running since 1996 making a certain environmental issue a main concern each year. This year’s main concerns the association will be fronting are the effects of climate change on our health. They aim to raise awareness and to educate the public, policy makers and public health professionals about climate change effects of when they will happen rather than if.

By highlighting the impacts of climate change on the environment and health they hope to influence Americans to lead their lives in a healthier more environmentally friendly way that will help manage and lessen the impacts of climate change.

I’m all for supporting fair trade week and other environmental awareness weeks now I’ve been made aware that they exist. But if were going to make a visible difference on the environment maybe a UK health week needs to established.

Ethical eating

February 26, 2008

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Chicken limbo!

February 26, 2008


Whilst Jamie Oliver is on top form advocating free range being the most ethical way to eat and treat chickens supermarket sales of battery birds are falling fast. Tesco has outraged the free range guru’s by cutting their price of a battery chicken from £3.30 to a minute £1.99 to keep the budget shopper smiling and fed. You don’t just get the breast or legs for this price its just £1.99 for the whole bird! To keep the peace Tesco have also made 30% increase in free range stock, some may say this is a bit of a contradiction but a positive change all the same. 

Audrey Prest, 59, pensioner from Derby commented that “I’ve chosen to buy free range chicken and eggs for over a good five years because I feel the rearing of battery chickens is cruel, I think its brilliant that it is being promoted more publicially and I hope that my choices to buy free range will influence my friends and family to make the same decisions when shopping”.

But with the average price of a free range chicken costing a staggering £5.90 its difficult to see a large turnaround from battery to free range shoppers anytime soon with a whopping 86% of consumers choosing battery. 

Levanah Gates, 21, Visual Design student from Erdington commented “The recent chicken campaigns did make me think about the choices I made whilst shopping but I found a week later when the bank balance was low I was back to buying battery reared chicken and eggs, free range prices have got to drop considerably to compete with the sales of battery chicken, I think until then shoppers on a shoe string will be more concerned about saving a couple of quid than the lifestyle of chickens however much its promoted as humane.”

Our attention has mainly been drawn to swapping lone battery chicken and eggs to free range however eggs are a major ingredient used in many other supermarket products such as mayonnaises, quiches, cakes ect. It is a rarity to see on packets, bottles and sachets “this product contains battery eggs”. And how much would this deter consumers from buying cheap convenient foods especially when there is little on the shelves labelled “made with free range eggs” for the more free range conscious buyer.  

Jamie has got his work cut out with the money minded supermarkets as they strive to meet consumer demands for cheap as chips chicken- literally. Tesco’s media director Jonathan Church “the only reductions we make are the prices not the welfare” which suggests that Tesco is currently keeping its feet firmly on the ground supplying budget poultry for its bargain buyers.

Pesty pesticides

February 23, 2008

British shoppers are going organic crazy to improve their overall health and well being with organic sales increasing by a huge 30% in the last year alone.

Organic foods such as fruit, veg, meat and milk sell themselves on the basis of being a more “healthier” option, containing superior tastes and being more environmentally friendly. The organic farming motives are to provide foods grown without artificial interference and animals reared in good conditions and without the influence of drugs or antibiotics to increase their mass.

There are fears that pesticides can cause harm to our health however The Foods Standards Agency stress that they aren’t dangerous. Our bodies are able to break down and detoxifies the man made chemical and therefore safe to eat however organic are still the “healthier” option.

These man made chemicals do strip foods of nutrients and minerals so therefore are better for us for instance a study by Liverpool University found that organic dairy contains 68% more omega 3 essential fatty acids than our standard dairy produce.

To prevent high toxic intake from non organic foods it’s suggested that you clean fruit and vegetables thoroughly as well as peeling off their outside layers as they are the part most exposed to pesticides. With meat it is suggested that you cut off excess fat because this is where pesticide build up occurs.

With pesticides not proving to make drastic dangers to our health from eating the foods reared on them, the farmers who have high exposure to them are. It is proven that regular contact with pesticides can lower fertility in men. Farmers that have day to day contact with pesticides are exposed to having abnormal and decreased sperm mortality making them less likely to father children.

Pesticides also contribute to air, soil and water pollution which can lead to destroying animal’s habitats as well as potentially killing them.

Many people are aware of this and because our attentions have been brought to the ill treatment of chicken rearing in the media perhaps the use of pesticides should as well as this too could be seen as unethical and humane towards the lives of animals.

Burning fossil fuels 

80% of the energy that we use and consume is made from burning fossil fuels. However the consequences on the environment are usually forgotten about as we use up energy everyday oblivious of them. The result of burning these fuels create carbon dioxide, sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides that all contribute to the rise of climate change, acid rain and smog which ultimately will become a huge problem for the environment if we continue to burn fuels at the rapid rate that we do.

Global warming

With everyday use of driving cars and simply using electricity we increase the amount of greenhouse gases that creep into the atmoshere. The concentration of of greenhouse gases gets trapped in the atmoshere which causes the climate to rise. Not only this but ultimately it will cause seasons to lengthen and serial floods to occur. So even though we may be grateful of a longer summer the consequences are damaging. 

Air pollution

Not only is air polution bad for our health but also extremely damaging for the earths ecosystem. Emissions from cars are a main contributer to air pollution which can ultimately lead to a large number of deaths and respiratory deseases. Air pollution is measured in categories – primary or secondary- depending on how they are emitted. Primary polluttants are emitted directly from a process such as a volcanic eruption. Secondary pollutants however are not emitted directly from a process. They are created when prmary pollutants react with other pollutants in the air, for example smog.

Water pollution

A shocking 70% of the earths surface is covered by water which makes it more alarming that water can be largely polluted. Oil pollution, radioactive waste and industrial waste to name a few all add to the earths polluted rivers, lakes and oceans. Waste dissposed in our water is concentrated with chemicals such as mercury, lead and asbestos that lead to major health implications on human, animals and plant. The toxic pollutants can cause varios types of cancer, acute poisoning and infectious diseases. 

Noise pollution

Can you believe it, even the noises we create can leed to the creation of pollution. The main factor of noise polltion is noise made by vehicles and other pollutants such as factory machinery and power tools. Poor urban planning has seen sound polltion to rise dramaticially as idustrial sites and residentail building are being built very close together. The damaging effects of noise pollution consist of hearing loss and titinitus.

The loss of habitation

Animals are being pushed out of their natural surroundings because us humans want bigger cities, more roads and rivers. However natural causes are also to blame such as forest fires. The spread of human activity into the homes of animals threatens up to a quarter of mammels extinction and a current 73% decline of North America’s fresh fish population.

Over populated world

Were recreating at such a rapid rate that no wonder that environmental issues are increasing on a larger scale. Since 1975 the worlds population has grew by 1 billion per year. If this continues environmental issues such as global warming are going to increase sufficiently, the more people living the more emissions the atmoshere will gain if we dont respond quickly. It is estimated that the worlds population is around 6 billion people and within the next 25 years this is expected to expend to another 2 billion, thats a lot of electricity use and carbon emissions.

Agriculture damages

The fertilisers and pesticides farmers use on crops are toxic to the earth and the environment. Chemical in the pesticides and fertilisers contain toxic chemicals that can kill wildlife and erode soil. Many of these chemicals are now banned but the water used to feed the vegetation still contains chemical run off and traces can till be found in the foods that are produced. They may increase farmers yields immensley however the consequences on the earth are dangerous.

Renewable energy 

Unlike the energy we get from fossil fuels renewable energy resources will never run out. We use the sun, wind, rain and sea to create a constant replenishment of energy to keep our light bulbs bright and our houses warm. These energy providers are eco friendly and often called “clean energy. Wind energy is not always the most reliable source of energy so it is stored to a device attached to the turbines to release energy when needed even when it isnt windy and the energy is needed.


This covers a huge spectrum of saving waste from reusing materials such as plastic bags to collecting bottles for the bottle bank to be melted down to remake more. Its about reprocessing old materials into new to prevent further use of raw materials. By doing this it will cut down greenhouse emission and prevent causing harm to the ozone layer.


February 11, 2008

My name is Laura Blood and I am currently in my second year at Birmingham City University studying Media Communications specialising in Journalism. The blog I’m creating is going to contain information about health and the environment.