The Hippocratic tradition emphasized environmental causes of diseases and the need for harmony between the individual and the natural environment as the right philosophy to maintain a good health status. Public awareness and scientific attention concerning environmental pollution is usually focused on the consequent increased risk of developing cancer. Air pollution has been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) to cause cardiovascular and respiratroy diseases, as well as lung cancer, after acute/chronic exposure to fine particulates (PM2.5
) even at concentrations which are 50% lower than those accepted as legal limits in many developed countries. An increase of 10 µg/m3
produces a +4%–6% of overall mortality, a +10% of cardiovascular disease prevalence (arithmyas, acute myocardial infarctions, and heart failure) and a +22% of lung cancer prevalence. In addition to these chronic effects, acute hospitalizations are also affected, especially among susceptible populations such as children and diabetic patients. Water and soil contamination also have an additional detrimental effect on people’s health. Other issues concerning environment contamination and human health include male/female fertility, metabolic and thyroid conditions, but also professional exposures resulting in occupational diseases. Moreover, in the perspective of “gender medicine”, different acute or chronic effects of environmental pollution should be specifically assessed both in men and in women. This special issue on “Environmental Diseases” is aimed at providing a global overview about different threats to human health possibily originating from environmental contamination.
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