With close to 200 countries around the world celebrating Earth Day most people would be surprised to find out what keeping the environment healthy could mean for their own health.

The World Health Organization estimated that out of the 102 major diseases reported in the World Health Report, 85 are spread through environment risk factors. These diseases include malaria, certain types of cancer, gastrointestinal diseases and respiratory infections.

Most experts agree environmental health intervention is essential for reducing the transmission of communicable diseases and improving the overall health of the public.

How can adjustments to environmental risk factors affect your physical health?

1. Air Quality- Air pollution can wreak havoc on not only the environment, but also the human immune system. Chemicals and toxins contribute to various respiratory illnesses such as asthma, carbon monoxide poisoning and mold inhalation. Cutting down on toxic cleaning products and limiting the amount of automobile fumes can substantially improve respiratory function.

2. Water Quality- In the United States we can almost forget how well off we are when it comes to the quality of our water supply. Water is a necessity of any functioning human body; however contaminants in water can lead to health issues. The US Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, provides standards and regulations for levels of dangerous impurities in drinking water including E.coli and Salmonella.

3. Hazardous Waste- Each state has regulations for generation, management and disposal of toxic waste. Recent studies have highlighted the effect living near a hazardous waste site can have on pregnancy including birth defects and development of certain cancers. The EPA offers guidelines for dealing with hazardous waste exposure.

4. Nutrition- The healthy benefits of an appropriate diet are far-reaching and can be easily adjusted to suit a person's lifestyle. Since a great deal of the food we eat comes straight from the environment it is important they are produced under the right conditions. Introducing nutritious foods to your diet as well as an increase in physical activity can help protect against types of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

5. Natural Disasters- Although it may seem as though we have no control over environmental disasters, they are somewhat preventable and do result in health concerns. Natural disasters affect not only the quality of air and water, but also expose the public to smoke and debris hazards, causes the emission of harmful gasses and influences the condition of wildlife.

Taking action during Earth Day starts with you and can not only improve your health but the health of those around you. The Earth Day Network has asked you to upload a picture and share your story on how Earth Day has affected you.