Many have heard about the potential environmental pollution in the water system of Rio de Janeiro, but the specific dangers and perpetual harm to the visitors and supporters of the Olympian athletes are just now being analyzed.
William Ranahan, biology professor and ongoing researcher of breast cancer at Oral Roberts University, stressed the concerns of the Olympics are many, and choosing Rio as the location was mainly a political decision.
“I would venture to guess health isn’t the number one thing that they are considering,” said Ranahan.
Aside from the environmental health issues, Ranahan is also concerned with exposure to international pathogens.
“An example of that would be when everyone comes back to ORU; what you have is everyone coming from their different countries and places and everyone is bringing their own bacteria and viruses. Usually everyone is good with their own set. It’s when they see someone else’s that there’s a problem,” said Ranahan.
Athletes and visitors in Rio are exposed to viruses, bacteria, molds and pathogens they are not accustomed to. They can then carry these back to their home countries and introduce a new set of problems.
Ranahan encourages those non-sympathetic to the environmental conditions in Rio reevaluate their point of view.
“It’s easy for us, now that we have money and the government to take care of and regulate things, to say ‘I’m not going to Rio, that’s crazy,’” said Ranahan. “There’s more than one way to raise awareness. You can do it and say, ‘Well, you’re terrible people,’ or you can be like ‘Alright how do we change this? Can we help people? Are there people [in Rio] who are willing to take up this movement [and move it forward].”