New data on the public health impact of chemicals

13 July 2021

Article: 55/2807

The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, released new estimates on the public health impact of chemicals as part of the ministerial dialogue held on 7 July 2021.

The new estimates show a continuing increase compared to earlier years, with two million lives and 53 million disability-adjusted-life-years lost in 2019 due to chemical exposures. Nearly half of deaths attributable to chemical exposures in 2019 were due to lead exposure and resulting cardiovascular diseases. The other largest contributors were chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from occupational exposure to particulates, and cancers from occupational exposure to carcinogens.

Source: WHO, 6 July 2021