Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP peopleandplanet.net
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Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP
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health and pollution > factfile > occupational health, new lifestyles

Occupational health, new lifestyles

Posted: 01 Aug 2004

The workplace is the most hazardous environment. In many developing countries bad working conditions or exposure to toxic chemicals, dust and allergenic or carcinogenic agents affect millions, as does exposure to insecticides and other toxic chemicals on the land.

  • WHO estimates that there are 217 million cases of occupational diseases and 250 million cases of injury at work every year, with about 50 million new cases of occupational respiratory diseases.

  • Tobacco now kills over 11,000 people every day. By 2020, it will kill 10 million people a year, 70 per cent of them in the developing world. WHO has launched a global anti-smoking campaign, and made tobacco control one of its main priorities.

  • More than two million deaths each year are attributable to physical inactivity. In countries around the world (including many developing countries) between 60 and 85 per cent of adults are simply not active enough to benefit their health.

  • Sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and substantially increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety.


    World Health Report 1998

    World Health Day 2002: 'Move for Health'.

    Tobacco Free Initiative

    WHO's Occupational Health website.

    Global estimates of burden of disease caused by the environment and occupational risks, WHO, 2002.

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