Europeans live longer thanks to environmental policies

SUCCESSFUL ENVIRONMENTAL policies have resulted in reduced exposure to harmful environmental contaminants in air, water and food. As a result, Europeans are generally enjoying longer and healthier lives.


However, some contaminants are still a problem, and several new health risks are emerging, for example, from new chemicals, new products and changing lifestyle patterns.


The findings come in a new report, entitled “Environment and human health”, published by the European Environment Agency and the European Commission’s in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre.


As people live longer, the main causes of premature death and disability have become non-communicable, “lifestyle-related” conditions, such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. However, these may be linked to environmental and social factors.


Science needs to move away from focusing on individual hazards and look instead at the complex, combined effects environmental and lifestyle factors are having on people’s health, the report concluded.