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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(1), 1044-1049; doi:10.3390/ijerph120101044

Assessing Health Impacts within Environmental Impact Assessments: An Opportunity for Public Health Globally Which Must Not Remain Missed

1
Menzies Centre for Health Policy, School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Room 322, Victor Coppleson Bld D02, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
2
Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, UNSW, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
3
Public Health Consulting Services and Community Health Programs, International SOS, Radhuspladsen 16, DK 1550, Copenhagen, Denmark
4
School of Public Health, Curtin University, Kent St, Bentley Perth, Western Australia 6102, Australia
5
WHO Centre for Environmental Health Impact Assessment. GPO Box U1987, Perth, Western Australia 6845, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 3 December 2014 / Revised: 22 December 2014 / Accepted: 15 January 2015 / Published: 20 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Impact Assessment: Realizing Its Potential)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [610 KB, uploaded 20 January 2015]

Abstract

Within the member states of the United Nations 190 of 193 have regulated Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) which is a systematic process to prevent and mitigate the potential environmental impacts of industry development projects before these occur. However, the routine and comprehensive assessment of health impacts within EIAs remains underdeveloped. Focusing, as an example, on the risks to global health from the global shift in the mining industry towards Low and Middle Income Countries LMIC), this viewpoint details why connecting with EIA is an essential task for the health system. Although existing knowledge is out of date in relation to global practice we identify how health has been included, to some extent, in High Income Country EIAs and the institutional requirements for doing so. Using arguments identified by industry themselves about requiring a ‘social license to operate’, we conclude that EIA regulations provide the best current mechanism to ensure health protection is a core aspect in the decision making process to approve projects. View Full-Text
Keywords: health; Environmental Impact Assessment; sustainable development health; Environmental Impact Assessment; sustainable development
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Harris, P.; Viliani, F.; Spickett, J. Assessing Health Impacts within Environmental Impact Assessments: An Opportunity for Public Health Globally Which Must Not Remain Missed. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 1044-1049.

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