Phthalates (also known as phthalic acid esters, or PAEs) are used as plasticisers in many consumer products, such as plastics and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and as solvents in adhesives, cosmetics and paints. Phthalates are one of the most common organic contaminants in the environment, but data about human exposure to them are limited.
Plastics can pollute the air, land and water during all stages of their life cycle from manufacture to disposal. Synthetic plastics do not biodegrade and tend to accumulate in the environment. Particulate plastics of varying physical size fractions are becoming major sources of pollutants in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Environmental mercury that is absorbed in the diet can have serious effects on human health, including neurological and reproductive effects. The Pearl River Delta in south China has transformed from an agricultural centre to a manufacturing centre during the past few decades.
Uncontrolled population growth, rapid urbanisation, the rise in community living standards and poor planning have accelerated the rate of generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) in Sri Lanka. Waste is ending up in open dump sites and, subsequently, water sources.
Chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) has been sweeping parts of Sri Lanka in recent years, mainly affecting farmers in the North Central Province, but also in the Northern Province, the Eastern Province, the North Western Province, the Uva Province and the Central Province.
The global population is 7.2 billion and growing. Around the world, nearly 250 babies are born every minute. This equates to 131.4 million births per year. Despite this global ‘baby boom’, the total fertility rate (TFR) – the number of babies born per woman – has declined by about half over the past 5 decades.
Complementary medicines – also known as traditional, natural or alternative medicines – include vitamin and dietary health supplements, herbal medicines, and traditional Ayurvedic, Chinese and homeopathic medicines. Contaminants in complementary medicines can include pesticide residues, and toxic heavy metal(loid)s such as cadmium (Cd), arsenic (As), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg).