Aarhus Universitet
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Environment and health

The environment affects our health in a significant way - both positively and negatively. For instance, dangerous chemicals, pathogenic bacteria and air pollution can make us ill and cause us concern. Moreover, our quality of life is affected.

In recent years, focus on the environmental impact on human health has increased both in Denmark and internationally. Indicators on environment and health represent a relatively new focus area at NERI. At present, NERI is working on a review of the environmental and health indicators for Denmark which have been proposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

  • Environmental effects impacting health can be divided into chemical, physical and microbiological factors.
  • Chemical substances are found in soil, water and air, but also in food and in the products we use.
  • Physical factors include e.g. noise, particles in the air, radiation, and the character of our physical environment, including the scale of and distance to nature and recreational areas.

The microbiological factors can be naturally and non-naturally occurring micro-organisms, such as e.g. bacteria and viruses.

Man is presented with these environmental factors in many different and varying ways, and it is difficult to estimate and describe in detail the importance the individual factors have for the state of human health. Man is exposed to environmental factors e.g. through pollution of air, soil and water, through food, waste or chemical substances, and via products used at work or in the home. The areas of human health where it has been acknowledged that environmental factors are having an effect include e.g. allergic reaction, respiratory disease, cancer and fertility.

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Revised 2013.01.29

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