10 facts on preventing disease through healthy environments
An estimated 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – nearly 1 in 4 global deaths. Environmental risk factors such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries.
In March 2016, WHO published the second edition of the report, “Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks”, which cites proven strategies for preventing disease and deaths through healthy environments.
Fact 1: Nearly 1 in 4 deaths across the globe are due to environmental factorsEvery year an estimated 12.6 million people die as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment.
Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries.
Fact 2: Noncommunicable diseases cause 65% of environmental-related deathsSome 8.2 million out of the 12.6 million deaths caused by the environment each year are due to noncommunicable diseases, primarily linked to air pollution.
Stroke, heart disease, unintentional injuries, cancers and chronic respiratory infections are the top 5 causes of environmental-related deaths.
Fact 3: Deaths from infectious diseases have declinedIn the past decade deaths due to infectious diseases, such as diarrhoea and malaria, often related to poor water, sanitation and waste management, have declined.
Increases in access to safe water and sanitation and decreases in households using solid fuels for cooking have been key contributors to this decline, alongside better access to immunization, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and essential medicines.