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Special Collection

Environmental and Occupational Health in a Global Context

Collection launched: 15 Jul 2019

Environmental pollution causes an estimated 9 million deaths each year. Workplace hazards are responsible for 2.3 million deaths annually. Climate change kills many thousands through heat waves, storms, fires, floods and expanding ranges of vector-borne diseases. Absent aggressive intervention, all of these numbers will increase in coming decades.


The health impacts of environmental and occupational hazards are greatest in low- income and middle-income countries (LMICs). Over 90% of pollution-related disease and death occurs in LMICs. Heavy industries such as chemical manufacture, steel-making and pesticide production are increasingly concentrated in LMICs. The majority of the world’s worst “hot-spots”, places contaminated by toxic chemicals, radionuclides, and heavy metals are in LMICs. The health impacts of these hazards are magnified in LMICs by weak public health infrastructure, absence of regulation, and insufficient disaster response capability.


This Special Collection based mainly on student papers presented in courses on Environmental and Occupational Health held at the Chulabhorn Research Institute, Bangkok, Thailand, the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany and the University of Brescia in Italy presents updated information on asbestos, lead, e-waste and arsenic hazards in LMICs. It also discusses the unique hazards facing health care workers in LMICs and the health consequences of climate change.

Guest Editor

Prof. Roberto Lucchini, MD, Professor of Occupational Health and Toxicology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, United States, and the University of Brescia, Italy