Study: Pollution, climate change and the Global Burden of Disease

This Environmental Health News article discusses pollution, climate change and the Global Burden of Disease. “It is crucial that environmental exposures are more fully incorporated and considered in future iterations of the Global Burden of Disease study”.

Recent estimates in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study show that the combination of air pollution, poor water sanitation and exposure to lead and radon is responsible for 9 million premature deaths each year.

Yet this figure captures only a fraction of the real burden of toxic pollutants in the environment, and it doesn’t consider climate change, according to a community of scientists led by researchers in the University of Washington Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) in the School of Public Health.

In a new paper, researchers highlight key challenges that limit the scope and accuracy of current GBD estimates for environmental health risk factors and propose strategies to clarify the true environmental footprint on health from chemical pollution and climate change.

The paper was published as a commentary in Environmental Health Perspectives on Oct. 18.

“There are currently no GBD estimates related to a host of globally distributed toxic pollutants or to climate change, which is arguably the greatest environmental threat of them all,” said Dr. Howard Hu, corresponding author and an affiliate professor in DEOHS.

Specifically, climate change is not considered in a new type of GBD analysis, published in The Lancet in 2018, that forecasts health and drivers of health on a global scale over the next 20 years.

 

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