Target 3.9 Reduce the amount of deaths produced by dangerous chemicals and the pollution of the air, water and soil



Mandates and strategies

  •  Recalling resolution WHA59.15 (2006), in which the Health Assembly welcomed the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management adopted by the International Conference on Chemicals Management (Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 4–6 February 2006) with its overall objective to achieve "the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle so that, by 2020, chemicals are used and produced in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment", as inspired by paragraph 23 of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August–4 September 2002).
  •  Recalling World Health Assembly resolutions WHA60.17 on oral health: action plan for promotion and integrated disease prevention, WHA63.25 on the improvement of health through safe and environmentally sound waste management, and WHA59.15 on the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, as well as the strategy for strengthening the engagement of the health sector in the implementation of the strategic approach adopted by the International Conference on Chemicals Management at its third session.

Scientific articles

  •  To explore distributional inequality of key health outcomes as determined by access coverage to water and sanitation (WS) between countries in the Region of the Americas. Methods. An ecological study was designed to explore the magnitude and change-over-time of standard gap and gradient metrics of environmental inequalities in health at the country level in 1990 and 2010 among the 35 countries of the Americas. Access to drinking water and access to improved sanitation facilities were selected as equity stratifies. Five dependent variables were: total and healthy life expectancies at birth, and infant, under-5, and maternal mortality.
  •  To inform policy by providing an overview of systematic reviews on interventions that facilitate sustainable energy use and have a positive impact on health. Methods. Systematic review methods were used to synthesize evidence from multiple systematic reviews and economic evaluations through a comprehensive search of 13 databases and nine websites based on a pre-defined protocol, including clear inclusion criteria. Both grey and peer-reviewed literature published in English, Spanish, and Portuguese during the 17 years from January 1997 – January 2014 was included.
  •  Rapid climate change poses direct and unprecedented challenges to human health on a global scale. These include the burden of disease from environmental risks-expected to rise steadily over the coming years-and direct and indirect effects on human health due to disruptions and shifts in services provided by ecosystems. In response to two major 2015 global climate change conventions-the "Paris Agreement" and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development-PAHO's Special Program on Sustainable Development and Health Equity (SDE) held a symposium in 2015,  "Climate-smart sustainable societies: addressing public health vulnerabilities and promoting sustainable adaptation now," to contextualize these goals for the Region of the Americas.
  •  To assess the status of the legal framework for air quality control in all countries of Latin America and Caribbean (LAC); to determine the current distribution of air monitoring stations and mean levels of air pollutants in all capital and large cities (more than 100 000 inhabitants); and to discuss the implications for climate change and public policymaking.
  •  Climate change is a social justice as well as an environmental issue. The magnitude and pattern of changes in weather and climate variables are creating differential exposures, vulnerabilities, and health risks that increase stress on health systems while exacerbating existing and creating new health inequities. Examples from national and local health adaptation projects highlight that developing partnerships across sectors and levels are critical for building climate- resilient health systems and communities. Strengthening current and implementing new health interventions, such as using environmental information to develop early warning systems, can be effective in protecting the most vulnerable.
  •  To identify interventions that 1) facilitate sustainable development by preventing toxic exposure to chemicals, including pesticides, and 2) have a positive impact on health.  Methods. This overview utilized systematic review methods to synthesize evidence from multiple systematic reviews and economic evaluations. A comprehensive search was conducted based on a predefined protocol, including clear inclusion criteria. To be classified as "sustainable" interventions needed to aim (explicitly or implicitly) to 1) have a positive impact on at least two key dimensions of the United Nations integrated framework for sustainable development and 2) include measures of health impact.

Technical documents

  •  La vigilancia de la salud tanto individual como de la población general, el desarrollo de un número creciente de técnicas de laboratorio y la mejora continua de los métodos diagnósticos requieren la adopción de herramientas de gestión para su óptima implementación en los sistemas y laboratorios de salud. Por estas razones, entre otras, el concepto universal de calidad y el estudio de sus procesos se han extendido de la industria de la manufactura a las ciencias médicas.
  •  In 2015, 5.9 million children under age five died. The major causes of child deaths globally are pneumonia, prematurity, intrapartum-related complications, neonatal sepsis, congenital anomalies, diarrhoea, injuries and malaria. Most of these diseases and conditions are at least partially caused by the environment. It was estimated in 2012 that 26% of childhood deaths and 25% of the total disease burden in children under five could be prevented through the reduction of environmental risks such as air pollution, unsafe water, sanitation and inadequate hygiene or chemicals.
  •  This 2016 report estimates that 1.3 million lives and 43 million disability-adjusted life-years were lost in 2012 due to exposures to selected chemicals. However, data are only available for a small number of chemical exposures and people are exposed to many more chemicals every day. Unintentional poisonings are estimated to cause 193 000 deaths annually, with the major part being from preventable chemical exposures, however only 47% of countries have a poisons centre.
  •  The International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW) provides an opportunity to mobilize political and social commitment for further progress towards the elimination of lead paint. In 2016, once again, governments, local authorities, civil society and international organizations were active in organizing awareness-raising events: these were held in more than 100 cities in at least 47 countries. 
  •  "To achieve the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle so that, by 2020, chemicals are used and produced in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment."
  •  More than a decade after WHO published Inheriting the world: The atlas of children's health and the environment in 2004, this new publication presents the continuing and emerging challenges to children's environmental health. This new edition is not simply an update but a more detailed review; we take into account changes in the major environmental hazards to children's health over the last 13 years, due to increasing urbanization, industrialization, globalization and climate change, as well as efforts in the health sector to reduce children's environmental exposures.