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ÖGD - Öffentlicher Gesundheitsdienst

ÖGD - Öffentlicher Gesundheitsdienst

Startseite / News / Burden of disease by housing

Inadequate housing causes more than 100 000 annual deaths in Europe 

 Deutsche Version

There is new evidence from WHO that inadequate housing conditions represent a serious environmental health threat. Inadequate housing accounts for over 100 000 deaths per year in the WHO European Region. It causes or contributes to many preventable diseases and injuries, including respiratory, nervous system and cardiovascular diseases and cancer. This is the main conclusion of a report, "Environmental burden of disease associated with inadequate housing", released on 23 June 2011 by WHO/Europe.

The report reviews the evidence on exposure to housing-related hazards and associated health effects and provides guidance on how to quantify the health effects of inadequate housing for selected housing risk factors. The report estimates the environmental burden of disease caused by inadequate housing for 11 housing hazards. For the first time, this quantitative report addresses in one document many of the risk factors associated with housing – such as noise, damp, indoor air quality, cold and home safety. Each chapter presenting statistical analysis based on sound data and scientific evidence.

Much of the housing stock in the European Union (EU) still had many health hazards in 2009, such as excessive noise exposure (22%), dampness (16%), overcrowding (18%), problems keeping the dwelling warm in winter (9%) and a lack of hygiene equipment such as an indoor flush toilet (3%) or a bath or shower (3%). Comparable statistical data for the countries in the European Region outside the EU are not easily available, but evidence indicates that the housing situation is worse, especially among people with low income.


Further information

The full report providing the evidence compiled for the individual assessments is available on the WHO/Europe web site along with a summary report presenting the key findings and policy implications.

Environmental burden of disease associated with inadequate housing (PDF 2,7 MB) Edited by Matthias Braubach, David E. Jacobs, David Ormandy

Environmental burden of disease associated with inadequate housing. Methods for quantifying health impacts of selected housing risks in the WHO European Region. Summary report.  (PDF 2,2 MB)

Press release announcing this report

For more information, visit the WHO/Europe web sites related to housing, noise and air quality:

Quantifying environmental health impacts
Environment and health
Housing and health


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