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January 19, 2018

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World Health Organization - Regional Office for Europe, European Centre for Environment and Health - WHO-ECEH


Particulate matter in the air, traffic noise in front of the flat, pollutants in the wallpaper and what can be done against such environmental hazards which endanger our health - these are just some of the many issues being addressed by the European Centre on Environment and Health (ECEH) in Bonn.

The centre is part of the World Health Organisation (WHO), and belongs to the WHO Regional Office for Europe. It focuses on the effects of environmental risks to human health, especially that of children in 53 states of Europe and Central Asia. Supported by the German Federal Government, ECEH has operated in Bonn since 2001. Its staff members evaluate up-to-date scientific evidence and draft guidelines, studies and proposals, which are the basis for decisions at all political levels and are a reference for media and societies in the European Region.

ECEH in Bonn is addressing a variety of topics: Air, Housing, Noise, Occupational Health, Chemical Safety, Health Impact Assessments, Contaminated Sites and Information Systems. It is also involved in projects related to Climate Change & Health and assessment of economical aspects. Clean air is the precondition for our health while many pollutants damage it: Particulate matter decreases the life expectancy of every German on average by ten months.

Every year 3,300 Germans die prematurely due to passive smoking. Pollutants such as ozone damage the respiratory system and in particular the health of children and the elderly. The relevance of housing conditions for health is often underestimated. However, mould and indoor pollutants can cause asthma, allergic reactions and respiratory diseases. In some countries more people die due to accidents occurring at home than in car accidents. Noise disturbs our sleep and relaxation and can even contribute to heart diseases. More and more Europeans are harmed by noise pollution: almost one in three suffers from harmful traffic noise. Global competition makes occupational health a challenge: 300,000 Europeans die every year from work-related diseases.

Five million children in Europe have to work regularly and in poor health conditions. Reliable information is the precondition for a healthy environmental policy. For this the ECEH collects comparable data from all countries of the European region and advises member states on data collection methodology. Recent products of ECEH Bonn include globally applicable "Air Quality Guidelines” and the "Children’s health and the Environment in Europe: a Baseline Assessment”.

(Source: Common Information Space of the UN Organizations in Bonn)

UN Campus
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1
53113 Bonn

Tel.: +49 228 - 81 50 40 0

e-mail address:


Last update: March 14, 2016



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