Concern for Europe's Tomorrow: Health and Environment in the by WHO Regional Publications

By WHO Regional Publications

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Extra resources for Concern for Europe's Tomorrow: Health and Environment in the Who European Region - Summary (Who Publications, European Series, No 53)

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From a public health point of view, the risk was insignificant: less than 1 extra case of childhood leukaemia per year in a population of 9 million, associated with living near high voltage power lines (16). The high prevalence of exposures to ELF, the inconclusive evidence from epidemiological studies, and strong public concern are arguments for conducting investigations to resolve the issue. Studies of electrical workers are more likely to be helpful than studies based on the general population, with lower levels of exposure.

Contamination of meat or freshwater fish with parasites is an increasingly recognized regional problem. Some 2 million people in the Russian Federation, for instance, may be infected with liver flukes. For both food- and waterborne infections, underreporting is certain to occur, since only the more severely affected individuals will seek medical treatment. Because national standards vary, data on levels of contamination that exceed them cannot be interpreted or used for extrapolation purposes in the same way as has been possible for major air pollutants.

The problem is greatest in CCEE and NIS, but also exists in cities in southern Europe. Concentrations of particulates in urban areas have tended to decrease in the last decade in a number of cities in the Region. The large agglomerations of southern Europe, however, showed no significant improvement in the 1980s. This also seems to be the situation in cities in CCEE for which data are available. Little monitoring information is available for NIS but levels of pollution in some industrial areas are known to be excessive.

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