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

UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water

The UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS 2014), published biannually, presents data from 94 countries and 23 external support agencies. It offers a comprehensive analysis of strengths and challenges in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) within and across countries.

Guidelines for indoor air quality: household fuel combustion

12 November 2014 -- WHO recommendations, released today, highlight the dangers of burning fuels like unprocessed coal and kerosene in the home, and set targets for reducing emissions of health-damaging pollutants from domestic cookstoves, space heaters and fuel-based lamps. These new guidelines come after WHO findings earlier this year revealed that more than 7 million people – one in eight of total global deaths – are due to indoor or outdoor air pollution exposure. According to the estimates, some 4.3 million people worldwide die every year from household air pollution emitted by rudimentary biomass and coal cookstoves.

International lead poisoning prevention week of action


Lead poisoning is entirely preventable, yet lead exposure is estimated to account for 0.6% of the global burden of disease, with the highest burden in developing regions. Childhood lead exposure is estimated to contribute to about 600 000 new cases of children with intellectual disabilities every year. 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 through a better environment

Environmental hazards are responsible for as much as a quarter of the total burden of disease world-wide, and more than one-third of the burden among children. Heading that list are diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, various forms of unintentional injuries and malaria. The disease burden is much higher in the developing world, although in the case of certain non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers, the per capita disease burden is larger in developed countries. Health impacts of environmental hazards run across more than 80 diseases and types of injury.
Well-targeted interventions can prevent much of this environmental risk.
Worldwide, as many as 13 million deaths could be prevented every year by making our environments healthier.

In focus