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Environment and Health (I): Overview and Main European Issues

WHO Regional Publications, European Series, No. 68, EEA Environmental Monograph no. 2

The environment can have an important influence on health. The European Environment Agency (EEA) and theWHO European Centre for Environment and Health (ECEH) developed this publication as a joint effort to draw attention to some environmental issues that have a significant impact on the health of the people of Europe. It represents the logical complement and continuation of their cooperative work.


Pooling the immense amounts of data that they have gathered, EEA and ECEH have distilled the resulting knowledge into a brief discussion of the contribution of environmental factors to the main causes of death in Europe, and an examination of three particularly significant issues. These issues meet important criteria. Each is a widespread problem that causes significant damage to the health of many people throughout Europe, and all are amenable to coordinated action that would result in both improved environmental quality and health benefits within a short time. Delaying the action would increase the damage and make these problems harder to solve in the future. This book not only identifies these issues - air pollution with suspended particles, the microbiological contamination of drinking-water and road traffic accidents - and sketches the harm that they do, but lists goals and strategies for action now.


This book offers useful reading for everyone interested in a healthy environment, health protection and sustainable development. It offers practical suggestions for action to make Europe a safer and healthier place to live, for today's Europeans and tomorrow's.


Table of Contents


Executive summary

1. Introduction

2. Environmental exposures and the main health problems in Europe

  • Widening east-west gap in life expectancy
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Cancer
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Communicable diseases
  • Injury and poisoning
  • Effects on the nervous system and mental disorders
  • Haematological effects
  • Birth defects and reproductive effects
  • Effects on wellbeing

3. Significant issues

  • Pollution of air with suspended particles
  • Microbiological contamination of drinking-water
  • Road traffic accidents


WHO Regional Publications, European Series, No.68
EEA Environmental Monograph, No. 2

Authors: Roberto Bertollini, Carlos Dora, Michael Krzyzanowski (WHO European Centre for Environment and Health) and David Stanners (European Environment Agency)
ISBN: 92 890 1332 X



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