Environmental Mutagens

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Biology 123

Assuming Responsibility for Environmental Mutagens

Mutagens are any agents within an environment which increase the chances of a mutation in DNA.  The best known mutagens are radiation (such as those from the sun’s ultraviolet rays or chemical weapons) and organic chemicals (such as those found in pesticides).  Although some mutagens are natural and cannot be prevented or avoided, there are some which society has a direct effect on the creation of and handling.  The population's demand for advances in medicine, agriculture, and technology has by-products we have a responsibility to own as well. The earth's population is growing exponentially due not only to expected rates of population growth, but also from advances in fertility methods, awareness of how to take care of the human body, and the desire for a longer life span.  These and other factors are the catalysts for improvements in the field of medicine.  We have developed treatments such as chemotherapy for cancer which actually administers radiation to a patient which is a godsend for those living with the disease.  We have also developed several types of “anti-aging” treatments (i.e., Botox and laser facelifts) which have become as common as a daily dosage of vitamins.  We have reaped the benefits of these remedies, but must also ensure that we are educated on any side-effects.  Society has put forth an effort to ensure this happens with the creation of certification boards for doctors, malpractice law, etc.  Oncologists have a responsibility to inform patients that chemotherapy is a form of radiation, the effects on a cellular level, and any repercussions to their bodies that could result from treatments.  Cosmetic surgeons have a responsibility to educate clients on the existence of bacteria that can cause botulism in Botox and any possible effects.  The patient/client can then make an educated decision on whether to have the cosmetic or potentially life-saving...
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