Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in Europe and scientists warn that environmental risks are one of the causes of heart disease.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) has developed an assessment (1) on the link between this type of diseases and environmental degradation. This assessment, endorsed by the European Green Deal (2) from which the EU Zero Pollution Action Plan stems (3), highlights that reducing pollution and extreme temperatures could reduce the burden of cardiovascular events.
Findings provided in the report published by EEA “Beating cardiovascular disease – the role of Europe’s environment” identify the environmental determinants of cardiovascular disease and corresponding EU policy responses. According to EEA report, reducing exposure to pollution, and mitigating and adapting to climate change can significantly reduce deaths resulting from the burden of cardiovascular disease.
In Europe, 18% of cardiovascular disease-related deaths are estimated to be due to environmental factors, including air pollution and extreme temperatures. However, the EEA considers that this figure is not accurate, it could be much higher, since the analysis does not take into account other types of pollution such as environmental noise, light pollution, exposures that may happen at the workplace or exposures to different toxic chemicals.
Results from the EEA analysis highlight that environmental risks are preventable, although individuals have limited scope for protecting themselves, which means the UE and governments need to implement effective public policies to reduce environmental pollution in an effort to minimise the environmental burden of disease and reduce cardiovascular diseases.
1. Cutting pollution would significantly reduce heart attacks and strokes in Europe. https://www.eea.europa.eu/en/newsroom/news/cutting-pollution-would-significantly
2. Zero pollution action plan. https://environment.ec.europa.eu/strategy/zero-pollution-action-plan_en
3. Beating cardiovascular disease — the role of Europe’s environment. https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/beating-cardiovascular-disease/
Amor Escoz Roldán
PhD in Education Sciences
Environmental Educator, Environmental Science Specialist