Quantifying environmental health impacts

Practical guidance for assessment of disease burden at national and local levels

WHO Photocontest 2007

WHO has coordinated the preparation of practical guidance for the estimation of disease burden at national or local levels for selected environmental and occupational risk factors. This guidance is compiled in the "Environmental Burden of Disease Series" and contains the scientific basis for the estimates, as well as a step-by-step approach and a numerical example to assist scientists in the estimation of the size of an environmental health problem in a selected area. Such a quantified estimate of an environmental impact on a population should be an input to decision-making for setting policies or defining protective measures, and serve for public information.

Download the volumes

Please note that evidence is currently being revised for the following risk factors:

  • Indoor (household) air pollution
  • Outdoor (ambient) air pollution
  • Lead
  • Second-hand smoke
  • Occupational risk factors
  • Climate change and health
  • Water, sanitation and hygiene
  • Malnutrition

Assistance is no longer provided while evidence is being revised.


Spreadsheets containing the various calculation steps presented in the guidance document are available for selected risk factors (UV radiation, sharps injuries in health-care workers, etc).

Assistance and spreadsheets can be requested at the email address below.

Please note that assistance and spreadsheets will not be provided for risk factors for which evidence is currently being revised.


We are interested in your feedback regarding:

  • Any applications of the proposed environmental burden of disease methods you are performing in your country or area
  • Any suggestions you may have to improve the method/ any difficulties you encounter.

Please contact us at EBDassessment@who.int.