Climate Change and Environmental Determinants of Health

The SIDS Initiative has a vision that by 2030, all health systems in SIDS will be resilient to climate variability and change. PAHO, jointly with WHO, will convene the Caribbean meeting of the geographically dispersed III Global Conference on Health and Climate Change: Special Focus on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in St. George's, Grenada, from 16-17 October 2018.

Ambient air pollution is a broader term used to describe air pollution in outdoor environments. Poor ambient air quality occurs when pollutants reach high enough concentrations to affect human health and/or the environment. Urban outdoor air pollution is a more specific term referring to the ambient air pollution experienced by populations living in urban areas, typically in or around cities.

The WHO UNFCCC Climate and Health Country Profile Project aims to raise awareness of the health impacts of climate change, support evidence-based decision making to strengthen the climate resilience of health systems, and promote actions that improve health while reducing carbon emissions. The profiles provide country-specific estimates of current and future climate hazards and the expected burden of climate change on human health, identify opportunities for health co-benefits from climate mitigation actions, and track current policy responses at national level.

Medellin, Colombia | 18-20 octubre 2017


  • Reducción de la contaminación del Aire - MINAMBIENTE - Colombia
  • Movilidad Eléctrica: Oportunidades para LAC - Marisela Ricárdez García - ONU
  • Colaboración y políticas intersectoriales. Experiencias en México - Horacio Riojas - Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública de México
  • Experiencia de la ciudad de México y su área Metropolitana en la mejora de la calidad del aire - Olivia Riivera Hernandez - CDMX
  • Introduccion a la iniciativa de residuos solidos de la Climate & Clean Air Coalition, CCAC - Estados Unidos de Norteamérica - Brooks Shaffer - CCAC
  • Plan de Descontaminación Atmosférica (PDA) de Talca, Maule, Chile - Vega - Ministerio del Medio Ambiente
  • El trabajo intersectorial y el rol del sector salud en las políiticas de calidad del aire - Carlos Dora - Organizacion Mundial de la Salud

Contaminated airAir pollution is the leading environmental health risk in the Americas (WHO, 2016a) Preventing Diseases through healthy environments, 2016).  The World Health Organization estimated that one out of every nine deaths worldwide is the result of ambient air pollution-related conditions (WHO, GBoD 2016). Ambient air pollution: a global assessment of exposure and burden of disease. The most health-relevant air pollutants are particulate matter (PM) with a diameter of 10 micron or less, which can penetrate deep inside the lungs and induce reaction of the surface and defense cells. Most of these pollutants are the product of burning of fossil fuels, but their composition may vary according to their sources. Based in all the evidence of the health effects to exposure to ambient air pollution, the WHO air quality guidelines recommend a maximum exposure of 20 µg/m3 for PM10 and a maximum exposure of 10 µg/m3 for PM2.5 (WHO, 2005).

In the Americas, 93 000 deaths in low and middle income countries (LMIC) and 44 000 in high income (HI) countries are attributable to ambient air pollution, being age-standardized deaths per capita 18 per 100 000 in LMIC countries and 7 per 100 000 in HI countries (WHO, GBoD 2016).