Public health, environmental and social determinants of health (PHE)

International lead poisoning prevention week of action

From 23 to 29 October 2016 the international lead poisoning prevention week of action will take place, with a particular focus on eliminating lead paint. Lead poisoning is entirely preventable, yet the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has estimated that in 2013 lead exposure accounted for 853 000 deaths and 16.8 million disability adjusted life years (DALYs) due to long-term effects on health, with the highest burden in developing regions. Of particular concern is the role of lead exposure in the development of intellectual disability in children. Even though there is wide recognition of this problem and many countries have taken action, exposure to lead, particularly in childhood, remains of key concern to health care providers and public health officials worldwide.

Health as the pulse of the new urban agenda

Urban health report cover

14 October 2016 -- Health is the “pulse” of a city’s wellbeing, and as the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III convenes Sunday October 16 in Quito Ecuador, health needs to be the centrepiece of planning for the New Urban Agenda. See how this can happen in the new WHO report.

Also at Habitat III, national and urban leaders will join in a launch of the BreatheLife Campaign for a clean air and healthy future, led by WHO in collaboration with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants. See the latest campaign updates and videos in multiple languages here at to see how to “breathe life” into your city with a healthy, clean air future.

WHO releases country estimates on air pollution exposure and health impact

27 September 2016 | GENEVA – A new WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. Information is presented via interactive maps, highlighting areas within countries that exceed WHO limits.

WHO launches Health in All Polices Trainers Network

July 2016 -- WHO has developed Health in All Policies trainers’ platform to facilitate the growth of institutions and trainers networks through sharing information based on regional and national common concerns and experiences. The platform is a repository of all the necessary resources (content, technical documents and preparatory training materials) from previously organized trainings, as well as a database of certified HiAP trainers and experts.

Second Global Conference on Health and Climate, 7–8 July 2016 in Paris, France

June 2016 -- WHO and the Government of France are pleased to announce the Second Global Conference on Health and Climate: Building Healthier Societies through implementation of the Paris Agreement. The conference will take place on 7–8 July 2016 in Paris, France.

Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health (PHE) during the 69th World Health Assembly

World Health Assembly plenary with delegates

The 69th World Health Assembly will be held from 23-28th May in Geneva. Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health topics to be discussed and events which will take place at the World Health Assembly include:
- Draft road map for an enhanced global response to the adverse health effects of air pollution (A69/18)
- Resolution on Role of the health sector in the sound management of chemicals (A69/19)
- Seven side events on Climate change and Health; Health in All Policies and Social Determinants of Health; Air pollution; and Water and Sanitation. (Full details below)


PHE monthly e-News

Each PHE e-News feature includes convenient links to the relevant topic for more detailed information, a listing of upcoming events, recent publications and links to WHO regional offices.

PHE health topics

An estimated 12.6 million deaths each year are attributable to unhealthy environments - nearly one in four of total global deaths. Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change and ultraviolet radiation, contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries.