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Millions of deaths from environmental causes are preventable, says WHO

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 15 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1412
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. Geneva

    An estimated 23% of all premature deaths can be attributed to environmental factors that are modifiable and preventable, a report from the World Health Organization says.

    “Many measures can indeed be taken almost immediately to reduce this environmental disease burden,” said Maria Neira, WHO's director for public health and the environment.

    “A few examples include the promotion of safe household water storage and better hygiene measures, the use of cleaner fuels, and safer, more judicious use and management of toxic substances in the home and workplace.”

    The study analysed how different diseases—85 of the 102 major diseases—are affected by environmental risks and by how much.

    The report concludes: “A better understanding of the disease impacts …

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