World Heart Day: Environment & the Heart

September 22nd 2015

Preview

The European Heart Network (EHN), together with the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (EACPR), will be launching on 29 August, during the ESC Congress, a public awareness campaign entitled ‘Environment & the Heart’.

The campaign aims at raising awareness about the need to create a healthy environment for the protection of heart health and at encouraging policymakers’ action. Healthcare professionals, patients’ advocates, policymakers and the wider public are all invited to join the campaign by supporting the 'Environment & the Heart Call for Action' by signing the online petition: https://www.change.org/p/environment-and-the-heart

The results of the campaign, which will include the collected signatures and the 'Environment & the Heart Call for Action', will be presented to the European Commissioners for Health, Environment, Climate Change and Transport in Brussels on World Heart Day, 29 September.


Call for Action

Environment & the Heart

A healthy environment for a healthy heart


Whereas:


(1)      Environmental factors are estimated to be responsible for up to 20% of the disease burden in Europe.  Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) make up the  largest portion of this burden.[i]

(2)      Air and noise pollution are environmental health risks with a wide-ranging impact on CVD [ii], the primary cause of death in Europe, killing over 4 million people yearly.[iii]

(3)      Up to 90% of the European population is exposed to high levels of air and noise pollution exceeding WHO recommended standards. [iv] [v]

(4)      CVD account for 80% of all premature deaths due to air pollution. [vi]

(5)      Noise pollution increases the risk of CVD, including hypertension and heart disease. In Europe, it is estimated to contribute to at least 10 000 premature deaths due to heart disease and stroke each year.[vii] 

(6)      Sustainable transport options reduce the negative effects of traditional transport patterns on human health, such as those caused by air and noise pollution and physical inactivity.[viii]

(7)      Air and noise pollution affect less affluent countries in Central and Eastern Europe and disadvantaged social groups across Europe more markedly, thereby amplifying inequalities in CVD.[ix]

(8)      Policy action is crucial to reduce the adverse health impact of environmental threats and, ultimately, to reduce the burden of CVD in Europe.


The European Society of Cardiology (ESC), the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (EACPR), the European Heart Network (EHN) and all signatories to the 'Environment & the Heart Campaing' call upon EU policymakers to promote a healthy environment for a healthy heart by:

€º      Adding air and noise pollution in the modifiable risk factors for CVD within the framework of a comprehensive EU strategy on the prevention   and control of CVD;

€º       Including clean air and noise reduction into all policy areas;

€º       Adopting EU-wide limit values for air quality in line with WHO recommendations [x] as well as setting ambitious binding emission reduction commitments in the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive for 2025;

€º       Fostering green urban planning in order to reduce pollution and promote physical activity;

€º       Promoting clean modes of power generation, including low-emissions vehicles and fuels, and renewable combustion-free power sources;

€º       Securing EU funding for research on the effects of environmental stressors on the cardiovascular system;

€º      Following-up on the 1987 Year for Environment, 1994 Year for Health and Nutrition and 2013 Year of Air by setting 2018 as the Year for Chronic Diseases, encompassing health inequalities, social, economic and environmental factors.





REFERENCES:

[i] WHO: the European Health Report 2012

[ii] D. E. Newby et al. Expert position paper on air pollution and cardiovascular disease. European Heart Journal, 2014

British Heart Foundation. Policy Statement on Air Pollution

D. R. Gold et al. Air Pollution, Climate and Heart Disease

T Munzel et al. Environmental hazards, air pollution, and noise as novel cardiovascular risk factors

[iii] European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2012

[iv] 65 % of Europeans living in major urban areas are exposed to high noise levels. DECISION No 1386/2013/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 20 November 2013 on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’

[v] DECISION No 1386/2013/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 20 November 2013 on a General Union Environment ActionProgramme to 2020 ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’

European Environment Agency, Air quality in Europe €” 2014 report

http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/urban-health/urban-health

SOER 2010 €” The European environment €” state and outlook 2010

[vi] T Munzel et al. Environmental hazards, air pollution, and noise as novel cardiovascular risk factors.

[vii] SOER 2015 €” The European environment €” state and outlook 2015 http://www.eea.europa.eu/soer-2015/synthesis/report/0c-executivesummary

[viii] http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/Transport-and-health

[ix] T Munzel et al. Environmental hazards, air pollution, and noise as novel cardiovascular risk factors.

[x] WHO Air quality guidelines for particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide- Global update 2005

Ambient (outdoor) air quality and health





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