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Special Issue "Environmental Health Indicators for Policy Support"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. David Briggs

Emeritus Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London W2 1PG, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +64 9431 8401
Interests: GIS; exposure assessment; environmental health indicators; air pollution; environmental health impact assessment
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Barry Borman

Director, Environmental Health Indicators Programme, Massey University, PO Box 756, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental health indicators; birth defects; epidemiology; environmental health; surveillance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The concept of environmental health indicators (EHIs) has been with us for more than a quarter of a century now, and over that time much effort has been devoted to devising, constructing and using EHIs at local, national and international levels. As practical tools for policy support, however, they have not always been subjected to the levels of scientific scrutiny and evaluation that they merit. The results and lessons of developing and applying indicators have also not always been widely shared, and no clearly-defined body of underpinning research has emerged that can guide and support their design and use. This Special Issue is intended to address this gap. Its aim is to bring together experience in the field and set a benchmark for future EHI development. In this context, contributions are particularly invited that:

  1. Review recent developments in, and applications of, EHIs and elicit the lessons that can be learned from them;
  2. Analyse the role of EHIs in evidence-based policy on environment and health, the implications of using them, and the impacts they have had;
  3. Reflect on the underpinning science relating to EHIs, and the issues that still need to be addressed;
  4. Explore relationships between EHIs and other policy tools—e.g. risk assessment, health impact assessment, risk communication
  5. Examine the potential for using EHIs in new and more targeted ways—e.g. in relation to vulnerable groups, or to address emerging public health issues.

Prof. Dr. David Briggs
Prof. Dr. Barry Borman
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Environmental health indicators
  • Evidence-based policy
  • Health surveillance
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Risk communication

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle A Novel Environmental Justice Indicator for Managing Local Air Pollution
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1260; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061260
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 5 June 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
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Abstract
Environmental justice efforts in the United States seek to provide equal protection from environmental hazards, such as air pollution, to all groups, particularly among traditionally disadvantaged populations. To accomplish this objective, the U.S. EPA has previously required states to use an environmental justice
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Environmental justice efforts in the United States seek to provide equal protection from environmental hazards, such as air pollution, to all groups, particularly among traditionally disadvantaged populations. To accomplish this objective, the U.S. EPA has previously required states to use an environmental justice screening tool as part of air quality planning decision-making. The generally utilized approach to assess potential areas of environmental justice concern relies on static comparisons of environmental and demographic information to identify areas where minority and low income populations experience elevated environmental exposures, but does not include any additional information that may inform the trade-offs that sub-populations of varying socio-demographic groups make when choosing where to reside in cities. In order to address this limitation, job accessibility (measured by a mobility index defining the number of jobs available within a set commuting time) was developed as a novel environmental justice indicator of environmental justice priority areas at the local level. This approach is modeled using real-world data in Allegheny County, PA (USA), and identifies areas with relatively high levels of outdoor air pollution and low access to jobs. While traditional tools tend to flag the poorest neighborhoods for environmental justice concerns, this new method offers a more refined analysis, targeting populations suffering from the highest environmental burden without the associated benefits of urban living. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health Indicators for Policy Support)
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Open AccessArticle Measuring the Impact of Environment on the Health of Large Cities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1216; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061216
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 31 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 June 2018 / Published: 9 June 2018
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Abstract
The relative significance of indicators and determinants of health is important for local public health workers and planners. Of similar importance is a method for combining and evaluating such markers. We used a recently developed index, the Urban Health Index (UHI), to examine
[...] Read more.
The relative significance of indicators and determinants of health is important for local public health workers and planners. Of similar importance is a method for combining and evaluating such markers. We used a recently developed index, the Urban Health Index (UHI), to examine the impact of environmental variables on the overall health of cities. We used the UHI to rank 57 of the world’s largest cities (based on population size) in low- and middle-income countries. We examined nine variables in various combinations that were available from the Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in these countries. When arranged in ascending order, the distribution of UHIs follows the previously described pattern of gradual linear increase, with departures at each tail. The rank order of cities did not change materially with the omission of variables about women’s health knowledge or childhood vaccinations. Omission of environmental variables (a central water supply piped into homes, improved sanitation, and indoor solid fuel use) altered the rank order considerably. The data suggest that environmental indicators, measures of key household level risk to health, may play a vital role in the overall health of urban communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health Indicators for Policy Support)
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Open AccessArticle Interactive Cumulative Burden Assessment: Engaging Stakeholders in an Adaptive, Participatory and Transdisciplinary Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020260
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 21 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 3 February 2018
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Abstract
Cumulative burden assessment (CuBA) has the potential to inform planning and decision-making on health disparities related to multiple environmental burdens. However, scholars have raised concerns about the social complexity to be dealt with while conducting CuBA, suggesting that it should be addressed in
[...] Read more.
Cumulative burden assessment (CuBA) has the potential to inform planning and decision-making on health disparities related to multiple environmental burdens. However, scholars have raised concerns about the social complexity to be dealt with while conducting CuBA, suggesting that it should be addressed in an adaptive, participatory and transdisciplinary (APT) approach. APT calls for deliberation among stakeholders by engaging them in a process of social learning and knowledge co-production. We propose an interactive stakeholder-based approach that facilitates a science-based stakeholder dialogue as an interface for combining different knowledge domains and engendering social learning in CuBA processes. Our approach allows participants to interact with each other using a flexible and auditable CuBA model implemented within a shared workspace. In two workshops we explored the usefulness and practicality of the approach. Results show that stakeholders were enabled to deliberate on cumulative burdens collaboratively, to learn about the technical uncertainties and social challenges associated with CuBA, and to co-produce knowledge in a realm of both technical and societal challenges. The paper identifies potential benefits relevant for responding to social complexity in the CuBA and further recommends exploration of how our approach can enable or constraint social learning and knowledge co-production in CuBA processes under various institutional, social and political contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health Indicators for Policy Support)
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