Quantifying environmental health impacts

Burden of disease attributable to selected environmental factors and injuries among Europe's children and adolescents

Environmental Burden od Disease Series No. 8

By Francesca Valent, d'Anna Little, Giorgio Tamburini, Fabio Barbone

EBD Series No. 8 cover

For the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Budapest, 23-25 June 2004, the WHO Regional Office for Europe, European Centre for Environment and Health, has released a report which estimates the disease burden from selected environmental risks and injuries borne by children and adolescents in Europe. This report provides the first assessment of the impact of the environment on child health in the European Region and shows that indoor and outdoor air pollution, unsafe water conditions, lead exposure and injuries account for almost one third of the total burden of disease in 0-19 year old children. It also estimates the number of lives (and disabilities) that could be saved by reducing the exposure of the child population to these hazards in the Region. According to this study, approximately 100 000 deaths and 6 million DALYs in Europe are attributable to the four main environmental risk factors and injuries in children. Among children 0 to 4 years of age, the five risks contributed between 22 and 26.5% of all deaths and to 20% of all DALYs. Among those 5 to 14 years of age, the risk factors contributed to 42% of all deaths and to 31% of all DALYs. In the 15 to 19 year age group, they were responsible for 60% of all deaths and for 27% of all DALYs.

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