Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 20: Preventing and Reducing Harm from Toxics

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HealthWiki > A Community Guide to Environmental Health > Chapter 20: Preventing and Reducing Harm from Toxics


Protesters carrying signs reading "Stop Pollution" and "I can't Breathe" demonstrate in front of a smoky factory.

As we learn more about the harmful effects of toxic chemicals on our health and our environment, more and more people are organizing to prevent harm and to find healthier and more sustainable ways of producing things.

Business owners, government leaders, and some scientists try to justify the dangers of toxic pollution by saying that a certain amount of risk is acceptable as the price of development and progress (so we can have electricity, medical care, transportation, computers, and so on). But what they do not tell us is that it is possible to have these benefits in ways that are safer for people and for the environment. Rather than accepting unnecessary risks, we can choose to promote safer production of food, manufactured goods, and energy while still preventing toxic pollution as much as possible.