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Drinking water Recreational water Fish consumption Lake by lake Other issues Resources and references

Other issues in the Great Lakes

Other health issues
    in the Great Lakes

Apart from the major Great Lakes health concerns of drinking water, recreational water, and fish consumption, there are a number of related issues that are interconnected to air and water quality, pollution and contamination, agriculture and industry, and wildlife.

Air quality | Bacterial infection and beach closings | Chlorination by-products
Contaminated soils and sediments | Industrial and agricultural use of water
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) | Radiation | Wildlife populations

There is an ongoing debate as to whether synthetic concentrations of radionuclides in Great Lakes water should be regarded as a significant human health isssue. Current concentrations of radionuclides, such as tritium, in water are below existing standards and criteria. Natural sources of radiation contribute on average more than 98% of the human radiation dose. Artificial sources, such as nuclear power and medical facilities, add to the radiation levels.

Long term low level exposure to ionizing radiation has been associated with the development of leukemia and other cancers. Effects other than cancer, such as neurological, developmental, and immunological damage, have been observed only at high doses of radiation, and are generally assumed to be threshold effects. It has been suggested that radiation weakens the immune system, and that exposure even at low levels may lower one's resistance to infectious diseases, as there is a depression in the white blood cell count at high levels of radiation exposure. However, there is no clear mechanism linking low level radiation exposure with obvious immune system damage.

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