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Leefmilieu-Gezondheid België

The influence of the environment on health

The physical environment is unquestionably one of the determining factors for health. This factor can be a 'good' thing (a walk in the forest) or 'bad' (breathing the polluted air of cities during the rush hour). A poor environment contributes to some of the most common and most serious diseases.  


NEHAP refers to the influence of environmental factors on the most common diseases in the European Union: cardiovascular problems, cancers and respiratory diseases. These diseases, which of course depend on various factors, are at the origin of nearly three quarters of mortalities in Belgium.


The European Commission Health and Consumer protection DG has identified several environmental determinants which influence health:

  • indoor and outdoor atmospheric pollutants
  • noise
  • housing
  • water quality
  • magnetic discharges and radiation
  • exposure to chemical compounds


In the European Commission's view, these determining factors have an impact on various pathologies: hearing and sleep disorders, stress (leading to hypertension and other circulatory problems), cancers, asthma, congenital malformations, etc.