European citizens live longer and healthier lives than their ancestors, thanks to efficient environmental policies are being carried out and which have reduced human exposure to harmful environmental contaminants in air, water and food. However, these contaminants are still a problem and new risks are emerging due to new chemical substances , products and changing lifestyle patterns.
Given that people are living longer , the main causes of premature death and chronic health problems are due to the different ‘ living conditions ‘ to which man is exposed and its economic and geographical situation . Recent studies of the EEA asures that people with low social status tend to live in degraded areas where environmental conditions are poor and consequently potentially dangerous to human health .
Despite all the progress made in terms of environmental improvement , science will move away from focusing on individual hazards, to look instead at the complex and combined effects environmental and lifestyle factors are having on our health.
New aspects to consider , include:
- Chemicals. Global sales of products from the chemicals have doubled between 2000 and 2009 , and its appearance on the market is absolutely booming, including substances harmful to human health.
- Water quality. Pharmaceutical residues and endocrine-disrupting substances are the new concern in terms of water pollution, and are not yet possible to remove with treatments for water pollution control .
- Noise. Has become an agent harmful to health , affecting cognitive and cardiovascular systems and producing serious insomnia problems. Furthermore, noisy areas tend to be those that have high levels of pollution, and each factor seems to augment the effect of the other.
- Electromagnetic Fields and Nanotechnology. Mostly electromagnetic radiation emission from mobile phones as well as all nanotechnological applications, pose an emerging risk related to cancer.
- Green spaces. Have been shown to have benefits on the human effects , both physical and mental. Therefore it is very important that the cities have 30 % of its urban space with green areas. Sweden and Finland are a good example.