Regulation is an abstract concept of management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory, these types of rules exist in various fields of biology and society, but the term has slightly different meanings according to context. For example:
Regulation in the social, political, and economic domains can take many forms: legal restrictions promulgated by a government authority, contractual obligations (for example, contracts between insurers and their insureds), social regulation (e.g. norms), co-regulation, third-party regulation, certification, accreditation or market regulation.
State-mandated regulation is government intervention in the private market in an attempt to implement policy and produce outcomes which might not otherwise occur, ranging from consumer protection to faster growth or technological advancement. The regulations may prescribe or proscribe conduct ("command-and-control" regulation), calibrate incentives ("incentive" regulation), or change preferences ("preferences shaping" regulation). Common examples of regulation include controls on market entries, prices, wages, development approvals, pollution effects, employment for certain people in certain industries, standards of production for certain goods, the military forces and services. The economics of imposing or removing regulations relating to markets is analysed in regulatory economics.
Power to regulate should include the power to enforce regulatory decisions. Monitoring is an important tool used by national regulatory authorities in carrying out the regulated activities.
In some countries (in particular the Scandinavian countries) industrial relations are to a very high degree regulated by the labour market parties themselves (self-regulation) in contrast to state regulation of minimum wages etc.
Regulations may create costs as well as benefits and may produce unintended reactivity effects, such as defensive practice. Efficient regulations can be defined as those where total benefits exceed total costs.
Regulations can be advocated for a variety of reasons, including:
The study of formal (legal or official) and informal (extra-legal or unofficial) regulation constitutes one of the central concerns of the sociology of law.
Regulation of businesses existed in the ancient early Egyptian, Indian, Greek, and Roman civilizations. Standardized weights and measures existed to an extent in the ancient world, and gold may have operated to some degree as an international currency. In China, a national currency system existed and paper currency was invented. Sophisticated law existed in Ancient Rome. In the European Early Middle Ages, law and standardization declined with the Roman Empire, but regulation existed in the form of norms, customs, and privileges; this regulation was aided by the unified Christian identity and a sense of honor in regard to contracts.:5
Beginning in the late 19th and 20th century, much of regulation in the United States was administered and enforced by regulatory agencies which produced their own administrative law and procedures under the authority of statutes. Legislators created these agencies to allow experts in the industry to focus their attention on the issue. At the federal level, one of the earliest institutions was the Interstate Commerce Commission which had its roots in earlier state-based regulatory commissions and agencies. Later agencies include the Federal Trade Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, Civil Aeronautics Board, and various other institutions. These institutions vary from industry to industry and at the federal and state level. Individual agencies do not necessarily have clear life-cycles or patterns of behavior, and they are influenced heavily by their leadership and staff as well as the organic law creating the agency. In the 1930s, lawmakers believed that unregulated business often led to injustice and inefficiency; in the 1960s and 1970s, concern shifted to regulatory capture, which led to extremely detailed laws creating the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In biochemistry, allosteric regulation (or allosteric control) is the regulation of an enzyme by binding an effector molecule at a site other than the enzyme's active site.The site to which the effector binds is termed the allosteric site or regulatory site. Allosteric sites allow effectors to bind to the protein, often resulting in a conformational change involving protein dynamics. Effectors that enhance the protein's activity are referred to as allosteric activators, whereas those that decrease the protein's activity are called allosteric inhibitors.
Allosteric regulations are a natural example of control loops, such as feedback from downstream products or feedforward from upstream substrates. Long-range allostery is especially important in cell signaling. Allosteric regulation is also particularly important in the cell's ability to adjust enzyme activity.
The term allostery comes from the Ancient Greek allos (ἄλλος), "other", and stereos (στερεὀς), "solid (object)". This is in reference to the fact that the regulatory site of an allosteric protein is physically distinct from its active site.Bank regulation
Bank regulation is a form of government regulation which subjects banks to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines, designed to create market transparency between banking institutions and the individuals and corporations with whom they conduct business, among other things. As regulation focusing on key actors in the financial markets, it forms one of the three components of financial law, the other two being case law and self-regulating market practices.Given the interconnectedness of the banking industry and the reliance that the national (and global) economy hold on banks, it is important for regulatory agencies to maintain control over the standardized practices of these institutions. Supporters of such regulation often base their arguments on the "too big to fail" notion. This holds that many financial institutions (particularly investment banks with a commercial arm) hold too much control over the economy to fail without enormous consequences. This is the premise for government bailouts, in which government financial assistance is provided to banks or other financial institutions who appear to be on the brink of collapse. The belief is that without this aid, the crippled banks would not only become bankrupt, but would create rippling effects throughout the economy leading to systemic failure. Compliance with bank regulations is verified by personnel known as bank examiners.Biotechnology
Biotechnology is the broad area of biology involving living systems and organisms to develop or make products, or "any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use" (UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Art. 2). Depending on the tools and applications, it often overlaps with the (related) fields of molecular biology, bio-engineering, biomedical engineering, biomanufacturing, molecular engineering, etc.
For thousands of years, humankind has used biotechnology in agriculture, food production, and medicine. The term is largely believed to have been coined in 1919 by Hungarian engineer Károly Ereky. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, biotechnology has expanded to include new and diverse sciences such as genomics, recombinant gene techniques, applied immunology, and development of pharmaceutical therapies and diagnostic tests.Blood pressure
Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure of circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels. Most of this pressure is due to the work done by the heart in pumping blood round the circulation. Used without further specification, "blood pressure" usually refers to the pressure in large arteries of the systemic circulation. Blood pressure is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure (maximum during one heartbeat) over diastolic pressure (minimum in between two heartbeats) and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), above the surrounding atmospheric pressure.
Blood pressure is one of the vital signs, along with respiratory rate, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and body temperature. Normal resting blood pressure in an adult is approximately 120 millimetres of mercury (16 kPa) systolic, and 80 millimetres of mercury (11 kPa) diastolic, abbreviated "120/80 mmHg".
Traditionally, blood pressure was measured non-invasively using ausculation with a mercury-tube sphygmomanometer. Ausculation is still generally considered to be the gold standard of accuracy for non-invasive blood pressure readings in clinic. However, semi-automated methods have become common, largely due to concerns about potential mercury toxicity, although cost, ease of use and applicability to ambulatory blood pressure or home blood pressure measurements have also influenced this trend. Early automated alternatives to mercury-tube sphygmomanometers were often seriously inaccurate, but modern devices validated to international standards achieve average difference between two standardized reading methods of 5 mm Hg or less and a standard deviation of less than 8 mm Hg. Most of these semi-automated methods measure blood pressure using oscillometry.Blood pressure is influenced by cardiac output, total peripheral resistance and arterial stiffness and varies depending on situation, emotional state, activity, and relative health/disease states. In the short term, blood pressure is regulated by baroreceptors which act via the brain to influence nervous and endocrine systems.
Blood pressure that is too low is called hypotension, and pressure that is consistently high is hypertension. Both have many causes and may be of sudden onset or of long duration. Long-term hypertension is a risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Long-term hypertension is more common than long-term hypotension, which is usually only diagnosed when it causes symptoms.Enzyme
Enzymes are macromolecular biological catalysts. Enzymes accelerate chemical reactions. The molecules upon which enzymes may act are called substrates and the enzyme converts the substrates into different molecules known as products. Almost all metabolic processes in the cell need enzyme catalysis in order to occur at rates fast enough to sustain life. Metabolic pathways depend upon enzymes to catalyze individual steps. The study of enzymes is called enzymology and a new field of pseudoenzyme analysis has recently grown up, recognising that during evolution, some enzymes have lost the ability to carry out biological catalysis, which is often reflected in their amino acid sequences and unusual 'pseudocatalytic' properties.Enzymes are known to catalyze more than 5,000 biochemical reaction types. Most enzymes are proteins, although a few are catalytic RNA molecules. The latter are called ribozymes. Enzymes' specificity comes from their unique three-dimensional structures.
Like all catalysts, enzymes increase the reaction rate by lowering its activation energy. Some enzymes can make their conversion of substrate to product occur many millions of times faster. An extreme example is orotidine 5'-phosphate decarboxylase, which allows a reaction that would otherwise take millions of years to occur in milliseconds. Chemically, enzymes are like any catalyst and are not consumed in chemical reactions, nor do they alter the equilibrium of a reaction. Enzymes differ from most other catalysts by being much more specific. Enzyme activity can be affected by other molecules: inhibitors are molecules that decrease enzyme activity, and activators are molecules that increase activity. Many therapeutic drugs and poisons are enzyme inhibitors. An enzyme's activity decreases markedly outside its optimal temperature and pH, and many enzymes are (permanently) denatured when exposed to excessive heat, losing their structure and catalytic properties.
Some enzymes are used commercially, for example, in the synthesis of antibiotics. Some household products use enzymes to speed up chemical reactions: enzymes in biological washing powders break down protein, starch or fat stains on clothes, and enzymes in meat tenderizer break down proteins into smaller molecules, making the meat easier to chew.Financial regulation
Financial regulation is a form of regulation or supervision, which subjects financial institutions to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines, aiming to maintain the integrity of the financial system. This may be handled by either a government or non-government organization. Financial regulation has also influenced the structure of banking sectors by increasing the variety of financial products available. Financial regulation forms one of three legal categories which constitutes the content of financial law, the other two being market practices, case law.Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or USFDA) is a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments. The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs (medications), vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices (ERED), cosmetics, animal foods & feed and veterinary products. As of 2017, 3/4th of the FDA budget (approximately $700 million) is funded by the pharmaceutical companies due to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act.The FDA was empowered by the United States Congress to enforce the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which serves as the primary focus for the Agency; the FDA also enforces other laws, notably Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act and associated regulations, many of which are not directly related to food or drugs. These include regulating lasers, cellular phones, condoms and control of disease on products ranging from certain household pets to sperm donation for assisted reproduction.
The FDA is led by the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Commissioner reports to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Scott Gottlieb, M.D. is the current commissioner, who took over in May 2017.The FDA has its headquarters in unincorporated White Oak, Maryland. The agency also has 223 field offices and 13 laboratories located throughout the 50 states, the United States Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. In 2008, the FDA began to post employees to foreign countries, including China, India, Costa Rica, Chile, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.Gene expression
Gene expression is the process by which information from a gene is used in the synthesis of a functional gene product. These products are often proteins, but in non-protein coding genes such as transfer RNA (tRNA) or small nuclear RNA (snRNA) genes, the product is a functional RNA.
The process of gene expression is used by all known life—eukaryotes (including multicellular organisms), prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea), and utilized by viruses—to generate the macromolecular machinery for life.
Several steps in the gene expression process may be modulated, including the transcription, RNA splicing, translation, and post-translational modification of a protein. Gene regulation gives the cell control over structure and function, and is the basis for cellular differentiation, morphogenesis and the versatility and adaptability of any organism. Gene regulation may also serve as a substrate for evolutionary change, since control of the timing, location, and amount of gene expression can have a profound effect on the functions (actions) of the gene in a cell or in a multicellular organism.
In genetics, gene expression is the most fundamental level at which the genotype gives rise to the phenotype, i.e. observable trait. The genetic code stored in DNA is "interpreted" by gene expression, and the properties of the expression give rise to the organism's phenotype. Such phenotypes are often expressed by the synthesis of proteins that control the organism's shape, or that act as enzymes catalysing specific metabolic pathways characterising the organism. Regulation of gene expression is thus critical to an organism's development.General Data Protection Regulation
The General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 ("GDPR") is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas. The GDPR aims primarily to give control to individuals over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU. Superseding the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC, the regulation contains provisions and requirements pertaining to the processing of personal data of individuals (formally called data subjects in the GDPR) inside the EEA, and applies to an enterprise established in the EEA or—regardless of its location and the data subjects' citizenship—that is processing the personal information of data subjects inside the EEA.
Controllers of personal data must put in place appropriate technical and organisational measures to implement the data protection principles. Business processes that handle personal data must be designed and built with consideration of the principles and provide safeguards to protect data (for example, using pseudonymization or full anonymization where appropriate), and use the highest-possible privacy settings by default, so that the data is not available publicly without explicit, informed consent, and cannot be used to identify a subject without additional information stored separately. No personal data may be processed unless it is done under a lawful basis specified by the regulation, or unless the data controller or processor has received an unambiguous and individualized affirmation of consent from the data subject. The data subject has the right to revoke this consent at any time.
A processor of personal data must clearly disclose any data collection, declare the lawful basis and purpose for data processing, and state how long data is being retained and if it is being shared with any third parties or outside of the EEA. Data subjects have the right to request a portable copy of the data collected by a processor in a common format, and the right to have their data erased under certain circumstances. Public authorities, and businesses whose core activities centre around regular or systematic processing of personal data, are required to employ a data protection officer (DPO), who is responsible for managing compliance with the GDPR. Businesses must report any data breaches within 72 hours if they have an adverse effect on user privacy. In some cases, violators of the GDPR may be fined up to €20 million or up to 4% of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year in case of an enterprise, whichever is greater.
The GDPR was adopted on 14 April 2016, and became enforceable beginning 25 May 2018. As the GDPR is a regulation, not a directive, it is directly binding and applicable.Gun control
Gun control (or firearms regulation) is the set of laws or policies that regulate the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, modification, or use of firearms by civilians.
Most countries have a restrictive firearm guiding policy, with only a few legislations being categorized as permissive. Jurisdictions that regulate access to firearms typically restrict access to only certain categories of firearms and then to restrict the categories of persons who will be granted a license to have access to a firearm. In some countries such as the United States, gun control may be legislated at either a federal level or a local state level.Insulin
Insulin (from Latin insula, island) is a peptide hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreatic islets; it is considered to be the main anabolic hormone of the body. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein by promoting the absorption of carbohydrates, especially glucose from the blood into liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells. In these tissues the absorbed glucose is converted into either glycogen via glycogenesis or fats (triglycerides) via lipogenesis, or, in the case of the liver, into both. Glucose production and secretion by the liver is strongly inhibited by high concentrations of insulin in the blood. Circulating insulin also affects the synthesis of proteins in a wide variety of tissues. It is therefore an anabolic hormone, promoting the conversion of small molecules in the blood into large molecules inside the cells. Low insulin levels in the blood have the opposite effect by promoting widespread catabolism, especially of reserve body fat.
Beta cells are sensitive to glucose concentrations, also known as blood sugar levels. When the glucose level is high, the beta cells secrete insulin into the blood; when glucose levels are low, secretion of insulin is inhibited. Their neighboring alpha cells, by taking their cues from the beta cells, secrete glucagon into the blood in the opposite manner: increased secretion when blood glucose is low, and decreased secretion when glucose concentrations are high. Glucagon, through stimulating the liver to release glucose by glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis, has the opposite effect of insulin. The secretion of insulin and glucagon into the blood in response to the blood glucose concentration is the primary mechanism of glucose homeostasis.If beta cells are destroyed by an autoimmune reaction, insulin can no longer be synthesized or be secreted into the blood. This results in type 1 diabetes mellitus, which is characterized by abnormally high blood glucose concentrations, and generalized body wasting. In type 2 diabetes mellitus the destruction of beta cells is less pronounced than in type 1 diabetes, and is not due to an autoimmune process. Instead there is an accumulation of amyloid in the pancreatic islets, which likely disrupts their anatomy and physiology. The pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes is not well understood but patients exhibit a reduced population of islet beta-cells, reduced secretory function of islet beta-cells that survive, and peripheral tissue insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by high rates of glucagon secretion into the blood which are unaffected by, and unresponsive to the concentration of glucose in the blood. Insulin is still secreted into the blood in response to the blood glucose. As a result, the insulin levels, even when the blood sugar level is normal, are much higher than they are in healthy persons.
The human insulin protein is composed of 51 amino acids, and has a molecular mass of 5808 Da. It is a dimer of an A-chain and a B-chain, which are linked together by disulfide bonds. Insulin's structure varies slightly between species of animals. Insulin from animal sources differs somewhat in effectiveness (in carbohydrate metabolism effects) from human insulin because of these variations. Porcine insulin is especially close to the human version, and was widely used to treat type 1 diabetics before human insulin could be produced in large quantities by recombinant DNA technologies.The crystal structure of insulin in the solid state was determined by Dorothy Hodgkin. It is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system.Legality of cannabis
The legality of cannabis for medical and recreational use varies by country, in terms of its possession, distribution, and cultivation, and (in regards to medical) how it can be consumed and what medical conditions it can be used for. These policies in most countries are regulated by the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs that was ratified in 1961, along with the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.The use of cannabis for recreational purposes is prohibited in most countries; however, many have adopted a policy of decriminalization to make simple possession a non-criminal offense (often similar to a minor traffic violation). Others have much more severe penalties such as some Asian and Middle Eastern countries where possession of even small amounts is punished by imprisonment for several years.Uruguay and Canada are the only countries that have fully legalized the consumption and sale of recreational cannabis nationwide. In the United States, ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized sales and consumption although it remains federally illegal. Court rulings in Georgia and South Africa have led to the legalization of consumption of cannabis, but not legal sales. A policy of limited enforcement has also been adopted in many countries, in particular Spain and the Netherlands where the sale of cannabis is tolerated at licensed establishments.Countries that have legalized the medical use of cannabis include Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Thailand. Others have more restrictive laws that only allow the use of certain cannabis-derived pharmaceutical drugs, such as Sativex, Marinol or Epidiolex. In the United States, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of cannabis, but at the federal level its use remains prohibited for any purpose.Media (communication)
Media is the collective communication outlets or tools used to store and deliver information or data. It is either associated with communication media, or the specialized mass media communication businesses such as print media and the press, photography, advertising, cinema, broadcasting (radio and television), publishing and point of sale.Presidencies and provinces of British India
The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in India. Collectively, they were called British India. In one form or another, they existed between 1612 and 1947, conventionally divided into three historical periods:
Between 1612 and 1757 the East India Company set up "factories" (trading posts) in several locations, mostly in coastal India, with the consent of the Mughal emperors or local rulers. Its rivals were the merchant trading companies of Portugal, Denmark, Holland and France. By the mid-18th century three "Presidency towns": Madras, Bombay and Calcutta, had grown in size.
During the period of Company rule in India, 1757–1858, the Company gradually acquired sovereignty over large parts of India, now called "Presidencies". However, it also increasingly came under British government oversight, in effect sharing sovereignty with the Crown. At the same time it gradually lost its mercantile privileges..
Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857 the Company's remaining powers were transferred to the Crown. In the new British Raj (1858–1947), sovereignty extended to a few new regions, such as Upper Burma. Increasingly, however, unwieldy presidencies were broken up into "Provinces".Regulation (European Union)
A regulation is a legal act of the European Union that becomes immediately enforceable as law in all member states simultaneously. Regulations can be distinguished from directives which, at least in principle, need to be transposed into national law. Regulations can be adopted by means of a variety of legislative procedures depending on their subject matter.Regulation of gene expression
Regulation of gene expression includes a wide range of mechanisms that are used by cells to increase or decrease the production of specific gene products (protein or RNA), and is informally termed gene regulation. Sophisticated programs of gene expression are widely observed in biology, for example to trigger developmental pathways, respond to environmental stimuli, or adapt to new food sources. Virtually any step of gene expression can be modulated, from transcriptional initiation, to RNA processing, and to the post-translational modification of a protein. Often, one gene regulator controls another, and so on, in a gene regulatory network.
Gene regulation is essential for viruses, prokaryotes and eukaryotes as it increases the versatility and adaptability of an organism by allowing the cell to express protein when needed. Although as early as 1951, Barbara McClintock showed interaction between two genetic loci, Activator (Ac) and Dissociator (Ds), in the color formation of maize seeds, the first discovery of a gene regulation system is widely considered to be the identification in 1961 of the lac operon, discovered by François Jacob and Jacques Monod, in which some enzymes involved in lactose metabolism are expressed by E. coli only in the presence of lactose and absence of glucose.
In multicellular organisms, gene regulation drives cellular differentiation and morphogenesis in the embryo, leading to the creation of different cell types that possess different gene expression profiles from the same genome sequence. This explains how evolution actually works at a molecular level, and is central to the science of evolutionary developmental biology ("evo-devo").
The initiating event leading to a change in gene expression includes activation or deactivation of receptors.Regulation of therapeutic goods
The regulation of therapeutic goods, that is drugs and therapeutic devices, varies by jurisdiction. In some countries, such as the United States, they are regulated at the national level by a single agency. In other jurisdictions
they are regulated at the state level, or at both state and national levels by various bodies, as is the case in Australia.
The role of therapeutic goods regulation is designed mainly to protect the health and safety of the population. Regulation is aimed at ensuring the safety, quality, and efficacy of the therapeutic goods which are covered under the scope of the regulation. In most jurisdictions, therapeutic goods must be registered before they are allowed to be marketed. There is usually some degree of restriction of the availability of certain therapeutic goods depending on their risk to consumers.Tumor necrosis factor alpha
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF, tumor necrosis factor alpha, TNFα, cachexin, or cachectin) is a cell signaling protein (cytokine) involved in systemic inflammation and is one of the cytokines that make up the acute phase reaction. It is produced chiefly by activated macrophages, although it can be produced by many other cell types such as CD4+ lymphocytes, NK cells, neutrophils, mast cells, eosinophils, and neurons.The primary role of TNF is in the regulation of immune cells. TNF, being an endogenous pyrogen, is able to induce fever, apoptotic cell death, cachexia, inflammation and to inhibit tumorigenesis and viral replication and respond to sepsis via IL1 & IL6 producing cells. Dysregulation of TNF production has been implicated in a variety of human diseases including Alzheimer's disease, cancer, major depression, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Though controversial, studies of depression and IBD are currently being linked to TNF levels. Recombinant TNF is used as an immunostimulant under the INN tasonermin. TNF can be produced ectopically in the setting of malignancy and parallels parathyroid hormone both in causing secondary hypercalcemia and in the cancers with which excessive production is associated.Water pollution
Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies, usually as a result of human activities. Water bodies include for example lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers and groundwater. Water pollution results when contaminants are introduced into the natural environment. For example, releasing inadequately treated wastewater into natural water bodies can lead to degradation of aquatic ecosystems. In turn, this can lead to public health problems for people living downstream. They may use the same polluted river water for drinking or bathing or irrigation. Water pollution is the leading worldwide cause of death and disease, e.g. due to water-borne diseases.Water pollution can be grouped into surface water pollution. Marine pollution and nutrient pollution are subsets of water pollution. Sources of water pollution are either point sources and non-point sources. Point sources have one identifiable cause of the pollution, such as a storm drain, wastewater treatment plant or stream. Non-point sources are more diffuse, such as agricultural runoff. Pollution is the result of the cumulative effect over time. All plants and organisms living in or being exposed to polluted water bodies can be impacted. The effects can damage individual species and impact the natural biological communities they are part of.
The causes of water pollution include a wide range of chemicals and pathogens as well as physical parameters. Contaminants may include organic and inorganic substances. Elevated temperatures can also lead to polluted water. A common cause of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant by power plants and industrial manufacturers. Elevated water temperatures decrease oxygen levels, which can kill fish and alter food chain composition, reduce species biodiversity, and foster invasion by new thermophilic species.Water pollution is measured by analysing water samples. Physical, chemical and biological tests can be done. Control of water pollution requires appropriate infrastructure and management plans. The infrastructure may include wastewater treatment plants. Sewage treatment plants and industrial wastewater treatment plants are usually required to protect water bodies from untreated wastewater. Agricultural wastewater treatment for farms, and erosion control from construction sites can also help prevent water pollution. Nature-based solutions are another approach to prevent water pollution. Effective control of urban runoff includes reducing speed and quantity of flow. In the United States, best management practices for water pollution include approaches to reduce the quantity of water and improve water quality.