Quantifying environmental health impacts

Global estimates of burden of disease caused by the environment and occupational risks

Shoeb Faruquee/WHO

In 2006, WHO has released a report estimating how much of global disease could be prevented through healthier environment "Preventing disease through healthy environments: towards an estimate of the global burden of disease". This work built on previous efforts that WHO had coordinated to estimate the global estimates of burden of disease caused by 26 risk factors, published in the World Health Report 2002, in cooperation with numerous experts around the world, where five of these risk factors were environmental and six were occupational.

Only selected risk factors and health impacts had been taken into account, which were based on the strongest evidence. The sum of the estimated health impacts therefore strongly underestimated the global health impacts which are caused by the environment.

Household and ambient air pollution

Nigel Bruce/WHO

Based on the recommendations of the Household and Ambient Air Pollution Expert Groups involved in the Comparative Risk Assessment (CRA) done as part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2010 led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, new methods for assessing exposure and disease risks have been used to update air pollution attributable mortality for the year 2012.


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Key references

More info

Water, sanitation and hygiene



Climate change and health

Results and Methods

Related links

Previous estimates

Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health