Environment and health research at JRC
Certain environmental factors, such as exposure to pollutants through water, food or air, are important determinants of health. For example, it has been estimated that up to one sixth of all child fatalities and disease can be attributed to environmental factors. Individuals can make certain choices that affect their lifestyle and health on their own, but they also rely on public authorities for protection from health threats.
EU policy in this area aims to provide national governments with the scientifically sound information needed to reduce the adverse health impacts of certain environmental factors. The EU’s ultimate goal is to fill the knowledge gap by strengthening research and addressing the emerging issues on environment and health, and to make available relevant information to the public.
The JRC holds strong research capabilities in these areas and support is provided through:
- the development and validation of methods for monitoring pathways and assessing exposure: ambient air (air quality), indoor air (products, smoke), drinking water and food (including contact materials, contaminants in food chain). A contribution to the development of total human exposure approach is foreseen notably in the area of chemicals;
- the assessment of health effects through experimental work, bio-monitoring, toxicogenomic analyses, computational techniques and analytical tools;
- exploiting knowledge derived from the two items above in order to contribute to the future development of an integrated environment and health system, in line with the policy framework on environment and health information being developed under the EU Action Plan.