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Extra info for Concern for Europe's Tomorrow: Health and Environment in the Who European Region - Summary (Who Publications, European Series, No 53)

Sample text

The best evidence concerns the risk of lung cancer related to asbestos or to radon exposure, which appears to be ten times greater in smokers than in non-smokers. Sources that may contaminate food and water with chemical carcinogens range from industrial and human activities to 23 agricultural practices, food processing, packaging and preparation, and water disinfection practices. The relative contribution of carcinogenic contaminants in food and water to the overall impact of diet on cancer is not known.

Recreational activity can also be an important factor for wellbeing. Physical exercise may promote a feeling of wellbeing, accompanied by measurable improvements in physical fitness. The frequency of complaints about noise indicates that a significant proportion of town residents in the Region feel it affects their wellbeing and quality of life (see Table 1). Road traffic is the major source of residential noise but, increasingly, complaints are about the behaviour of neighbours, and this is a much more difficult source to control.

The spectrum of possible effects ranges from temporary, reversible changes in pulmonary function, through episodic symptoms that restrict normal activities, to permanent respiratory dysfunction and clinical forms of chronic respiratory disease. The most severe effects may increase respiratory mortality in the most susceptible groups of a population. Despite the limitations in the data on ambient and indoor air pollution and in the understanding of the etiology of chronic respiratory diseases, an attempt has been made to quantify the effects of air pollution on respiratory health (see Table 1, page 44).

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