The concept

Integrated environmental health impact assessment provides information on potential environmental influences on public health, in order to help people make better decisions to protect and improve human health.

It can be defined as:

A means of assessing health-related problems deriving from the environment, and health-related impacts of policies and other interventions that affect the environment, in ways that take account of the complexities, interdependencies and uncertainties of the real world.

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Key features of IEHIA are that:

  • It is specifically designed to deal with complex issues, which would usually be beyond the scope of more traditional forms of health risk or impact assessment (see links to Other assessment methodologies, left);
  • It considers both positive and negative effects on health – i.e. it recognises the environment as both a hazard and a source of beneficial resources (environmental services and capital);
  • It attempts to provide a synoptic and balanced measure of impacts, by weighting and summing the various health effects;
  • It is designed to be participatory – and thus to involve all the key stakeholders with interests in the issue.