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Environmental health inequalities in Europe. Second assessment report (2019)


World Health Organization (WHO), Regional Office for Europe

Subject Keywords: Health equity, Accountability, Policy coherence, Social participation
Topic: Health Inequalities
Catalogue: Research and Evaluation
Type: Report
Region: Europe

Environmental conditions are a major determinant of health and well-being, but they are not shared equally across the population. Higher levels of environmental risk are often found in disadvantaged population subgroups. This assessment report considers the distribution of environmental risks and injuries within countries and shows that unequal environmental conditions, risk exposures and related health outcomes affect citizens daily in all settings where people live, work and spend their time.

The report documents the magnitude of environmental health inequalities within countries through 19 inequality indicators on urban, housing and working conditions, basic services and injuries. Inequalities in risks and outcomes occur in all countries in the WHO European Region, and the latest evidence confirms that socially disadvantaged population subgroups are those most affected by environmental hazards, causing avoidable health effects and contributing to health inequalities.

The results call for more environmental and intersectoral action to identify and protect those who already carry a disproportionate environmental burden. Addressing inequalities in environmental risk will help to mitigate health inequalities and contribute to fairer and more socially cohesive societies.



Rights: © World Health Organization 2019
Suggested citation:

World Health Organization (WHO), Regional Office for Europe. (2019) Environmental health inequalities in Europe. Second assessment report (2019) [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 13th November 2019].


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