Environmental Health Impact Assessment: Evaluation of a Ten-Step Model.

Fehr, Rainer
Epidemiology: September 1999
Original Articles: PDF Only

"Environmental impact assessment" denotes the attempt to predict and assess the impact of development projects on the environment. A component dealing specifically with human health is often called an "environmental health impact assessment." It is widely held that such impact assessment offers unique opportunities for the protection and promotion of human health. The following components were identified as key elements of an integrated environmental health impact assessment model: project analysis, analysis of status quo (including regional analysis, population analysis, and background situation), prediction of impact (including prognosis of future pollution and prognosis of health impact), assessment of impact, recommendations, communication of results, and evaluation of the overall procedure. The concept was applied to a project of extending a waste disposal facility and to a city bypass highway project. Currently, the coverage of human health aspects in environmental impact assessment still tends to be incomplete, and public health departments often do not participate. Environmental health impact assessment as a tool for health protection and promotion is underutilized. It would be useful to achieve consensus on a comprehensive generic concept. An international initiative to improve the situation seems worth some consideration.

(C) 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.