The unequal distribution of people’s exposure to – and potentially of disease resulting from – environmental conditions is strongly related to a range of sociodemographic determinants. Interventions to tackle such environmental health inequalities need to be based on an assessment of their magnitude and on the identification of population groups that are most exposed or most vulnerable to environmental risks. But data are scarce.
To address this gap, and follow up on the commitments made at the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Parma, Italy in 2010, the WHO Regional Office for Europe has carried out a baseline assessment of the magnitude of environmental health inequality in the European Region based on a core set of 14 inequality indicators.
The main findings indicate that socioeconomic and demographic inequalities in risk exposure are present in all countries, though they vary from country to country. The report reviews inequalities related to housing, injuries, and the environment, identifies gaps in evidence that still need to be filled, and suggests priority action to be taken at both the subregional and the national level, bearing in mind those national variations.