Lesson Plan - Get It!
The family pictured above looks happy and healthy. Can you spot any hidden dangers lurking around them?
Keeping healthy can be a real challenge!
Stress levels, diet, environmental conditions, and our genes, all have an effect on our health. We can control some of these things, while others are beyond our control. It’s especially hard to control some of these factors when we don’t even know what might be causing us harm.
Find out about a special set of those factors in the reading below. As you read, write the answers to the following questions in your notebook or journal:
- What is one major hidden threat to our health?
- Where can this threat be found within our household?
- How do we know that this is a serious problem?
- Why is the situation slightly different in Europe from in the U.S.?
- What can you do to protect yourself?
Now, read the passage below and collect your information:
Would you believe that your sofa can make you sick? The household chemicals found in common items like furniture, carpeting, food containers, and chemical cleaning products, can cause real health problems. In fact, researchers believe that chemical-related illnesses cost the United States economy nearly $340 billion in treatment and lost work every year.
The diseases caused by the same kinds of chemicals cost less in Europe. This iss partly because European laws about household chemicals are different in Europe from the United States. It's a complicated problem, because new chemicals are always being created, and sometimes, harmful chemicals are replaced by even more harmful ones.
Still, it is important to take steps to decrease the amount of harmful chemicals in your household environment. Some of the best ways to do that are to monitor the kinds of foods you take in, carefully read the labels of the household cleaning and other products you buy, and avoid spraying pesticides and other chemicals unless absolutely necessary.
When you have completed the reading, reflect on the following questions and write your responses in your notebook or journal:
- How seriously do you think we should take this threat? What makes you think that way?
- Who bears responsibility for making sure people are not exposed to dangerous chemicals like these?
- Where do you think you can get accurate information about the health threat of chemicals?
You may say to yourself, “There are plenty of people who lay on their couches and spray cleaning spray all over everything, and they are just fine!” That is true, of course. Not everyone is made sick by the same things, and some people have simply won the genetic lottery.
In the Got It? section, look at some of the chemicals that can impact some people’s health.