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Environment and health

Safeguarding citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health is a priority at EU level

Environmental quality across Europe has been steadily improving over recent decades. Nonetheless, environmental health hazards continue to affect European citizens. Air pollution and noise cause diseases and shorten lives. Heatwaves across Europe in recent years have resulted in thousands of fatalities, and cold spells bring on poor health and excess deaths. The burden of environmental disease is unequally distributed across European society.

The NOISE Observation & Information Service for Europe

Noise pollution is a major environmental concern in Europe. Explore NOISE maps to see environmental noise from roads, railways, airports, industry and in cities where you live.

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More information

See also noise fact sheets

Air pollution continued to cause a significant burden of premature death and disease in Europe in 2019. A European Environment Agency (EEA) analysis, published today, shows that improving air quality to the levels recently recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) could prevent more than half of the premature deaths caused by exposure to fine particulate matter.

Concentrations of key air pollutants remain too high in most European countries. According to the European Environment Agency’s official data, published today, most European Union (EU) Member States exceed at least one or more of the EU’s legal limits for pollutants in ambient air in 2019.

Air pollution is a serious problem in many European cities, posing a real risk to health. Today, the European Environment Agency (EEA) launched the European city air quality viewer. You can check how the air quality has been over the past two years in the city where you live and compare it with other cities across Europe.

Published: 22 Jun 2021

The COVID19 pandemic is having immense effects on societies across the world. It has caused millions of deaths worldwide and challenged our health systems and economies. The pandemic - and responses to it, involving lockdowns, use of personal protection equipment, and stay-at-home measures - has far reaching health and economic consequences. This briefing deals with the less visible impacts on our environment and climate originating from changed use of single use-plastics because of the pandemic.

Published: 04 Feb 2021

The EU chemicals strategy for sustainability aims to ensure that chemicals are ‘produced and used in a way that maximises their contribution to society … while avoiding harm to the planet and to current and future generations’ (EC, 2020). Building sustainability dimensions into products’ design phase can support the delivery of these objectives. Key features of sustainable products include chemical safety, recyclability and a low environmental impact. This briefing describes approaches that are safe and sustainable by design and identifies enabling conditions, which support their uptake, and the related challenges and opportunities.

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