ICBAS - Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar

One Health —
One Health in Action

A One Health glimpse on the pathogenic effects of air pollutants

April 2023

By Luísa Azevedo, ICBAS

PORTO - It is well known that many chronic diseases occur due to the exposure of the individual to mutagenic elements in the air, water and soil may lead to serious diseases. Cancer is perhaps the most well-known case of a disease where the environmental exposure has a more pertinent causative effect. Cancer is, however, far from being the only example because pollution can also increase the risk of many other diseases. Among these are chronic respiratory problems, skin and cardiovascular diseases. Because we all share the same environment, the pathogenic effect of pollutants can also affect animals, like our companion animals. Under this scenario, how can one adopt a One Health approach to prevent the harmful impact of environmental exposure?

Taking air pollution as example, a simple way could be to reflect upon everyday choices, like travelling. Most of us uses the car, but one can choose to travel by public transports, bike or walk, whenever possible, in order to contribute to the reduction of pollutants. This is expected to aid the environmental health and have a positive impact in the reduction of the risk of acute and chronic diseases that are predisposed by the quality of the air, in both humans and animals.

Image Credits: Luísa Azevedo

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