Ongoing work

WHO investigates the health effects associated with contamination of the environment, along with other factors such as vulnerability to accidents, mixes of exposures, distribution of effects and environmental justice. The health implications of remediation, clean up and future development are also part of WHO’s assessments.

Specific activities include:

  • review of available methodology and tools for the assessment of health in contaminated sites;
  • development of a methodology for the analysis of localized contamination through the food chain;
  • review of European data availability and evaluation of the feasibility of combined analyses;
  • use of environmental health evidence in litigations;
  • implementation of a project on contaminated sites and health in Sicily, Italy, which:
    • analyses the health profiles of populations living in contaminated sites;
    • reviews the draft remediation plans prepared by the Sicilian regional authorities; 
    • supports local experts on specific surveys (e.g. on air pollution impacts).
In particular, biomonitoring methods to assess health in contaminated sites are being revised and pilot tested in collaboration with the WHO/Europe Information System on Environment and Health (ENHIS). Expected results include methodological updates and the establishment of new indicators related to chemical pollution.