• 25 NOV 05
    • 0

    Better Environment, Healthier People


    Press Statement

    22 November 2005

    Environment Agency report on Environment and Health

    The Health Protection Agency welcomes the publication
    of the Environment Agency’s (EA) report Better
    Environment, Healthier People (1). It recognises the
    impact of the environment on health and well-being and
    in particular the effects of flooding and climate
    change, poor air quality, chemicals, inequalities and
    outdoor recreation.

    There are approximately 30,000 chemicals in common use
    and less than 1% of these have been subject to
    assessment of toxicity and health risk (2). In
    addition, the long-term consequences of low level,
    chronic exposure to most chemicals and poisons are
    poorly understood although about 8-9% of the total
    disease burden has been estimated to be attributed to
    pollution (3). Consequently, the Health Protection
    Agency has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with
    EA, and the Chemical Hazards and Poisons Division of
    HPA is working jointly with the EA on a range of
    environmental health issues including the development
    of an Environmental Public Health Tracking System (4).

    The Health Protection Agency provides authoritative
    scientific and medical advice to the NHS, the EA and
    other bodies about the known health effects of
    chemicals, poisons and other environmental hazards
    (5). This advice covers issues such as:

    * personal protective equipment
    * decontamination and evacuation
    * toxicological and epidemiological advice on
    impact on public health
    * clinical advice on antidotes and medical
    * the public health impact of industrial sites
    * health effects from chemicals in the environment
    (including water, soil, waste)

    Guidance is available round-the-clock from medical
    toxicologists, clinical pharmacologists, environmental
    scientists, epidemiologists and other specialists. The
    Chemical Hazards and Poisons Division also operates
    the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) which
    provides advice to doctors and nurses on the best way
    to manage patients who have been poisoned (6).

    References and weblinks

    2. Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.
    Chemicals in products: safeguarding the environment
    and human health. 24th Report of the Royal Commission
    on Environmental Pollution. London: Royal Commission
    on Environmental Pollution, 2003.
    3. Briggs D. Environmental pollution and the global
    burden of disease. British Medical Bulletin, 68:1-24,
    4. http://www.hpa.org.uk/chemicals/tracking.htm
    5. http://www.hpa.org.uk/chemicals/default.htm
    6. http://www.hpa.org.uk/chemicals/npis.htm

    Sent by Sylvie

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