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WHO: Environment = Health

Friday, June 23, 2006

The World Health Organization has released a new report which strengthens the argument for increased controls on environmental pollution. Here are some of the key findings:

13 million deaths annually are due to preventable environmental causes.

More than 33% of disease in children under the age of 5 is caused by environmental exposures.

94% of deaths from diarrhoeal diseases and 40% of deaths from malaria – two of the world's biggest childhood killers – could be prevented through better environmental management.

Almost 25% of global disease is caused by environmental exposures that can be averted.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The report shows that one way or another, the environment significantly affects more than 80% of these major diseases. Moreover, it looks to quantify only those environmental hazards that are modifiable - that is, those that are readily amenable to change through policies or technologies that already exist. The report also spells out us how much environment-related disease is preventable.

By acting assertively and setting priorities for measures aimed at curbing the most serious killers, millions of unnecessary deaths can be prevented every year. Working with sectors such as energy, transport, agriculture and industry to ameliorate the root environmental causes of ill health is crucial.

Key Issues: