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Symposium of the environmental health economics network

In October, HEALer Anne Stauffer took part in the second symposium and advisory group meeting on environmental health and economics in Bonn, Germany, organised by the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health (ECEH).

Visualising both the health and economic gains which can help persuade policy-makers to improve environmental health and obtain government support was a key message from the participants of the recent Second Symposium.

As HEAL is a member of the network’s advisory group as well as the wider EHEN network comprising at this stage more than 70 experts, Deputy Director Anne Stauffer gave a presentation on case studies on environmental health economics and implications for policy. Economic evidence needs to be more widely used in environmental health decision-making.

Protecting health from air pollution, chemicals and climate change does not only save lives but also reduces health costs and brings a return on investment. Inaction can be very costly and is a powerful argument for decision-making, especially as austerity measures are squeezing budgets.

In the EU, a 20% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions would lead to an estimated 10–15% reduction in harmful toxins pollutants from the 1990 baseline by 2020, with reduced health damage costs of €12–29 billion. Controlling environmental exposure to mercury to protect children’s brain development could also save the EU €8–9 billion per year.

The symposium and activities of the recently established Network are underpinned by a strategic framework with the three elements of establishing a partnership network, relaying environmental health economics to target audiences and producing scientific evidence. The Network will use it members’ expertise and experience to promote its work in preparation for the WHO’s Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, planned for 2016.

More information available here

Originally posted on 27 November 2013

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