EBoD-FL - Mapping the Environmental Burden of Disease in Flanders

Last updated on 18-8-2022 by Arno Pauwels
January 1, 2022
December 31, 2026

Sciensano's project investigator(s):

In short

The environment can have an adverse impact on public health. Typical examples, known to be important causes of disease and premature death in Flanders, are: 

  • air pollution
  • noise 
  • and extreme temperatures. 

In light of this, Sciensano and Agentschap Zorg & Gezondheid are partnering up to create a coherent and global overview of the contribution of environmental risks to the burden of disease in Flanders.

Project summary

Background

Extensive evidence shows that the environment can have adverse effects on health, examples of which are increased risks of: 

  • cancer
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • and respiratory diseases. 

Despite this knowledge, a coherent and global overview of the contribution of environmental risks to the burden of disease is currently lacking.

Objective

This project aims to determine the Flemish environmental burden of disease in way that ranks the different stressors according to impact. The results can aid the integration of a health perspective into environmental policy, and determine priorities for prevention.

Method

In the comparative risk assessment paradigm, the contribution of each risk factor is quantified as the population attributable fraction (PAF): the proportion of the disease burden caused by exposure to the stressor. Exposure assessment consists of determining the level of exposure in the population, either through measurement or modelling. This degree of exposure is contrasted with a theoretical level linked to minimal risk. The results of the exposure assessment are combined with the relative risk of the associated outcome, derived from epidemiologic studies. The resulting PAF is multiplied with the observed burden, which yields an estimate in absolute terms. The burden of disease is commonly expressed in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), a metric that integrates both morbidity and mortality.

This project will build on the experience developed within the context of the Belgian national burden of disease study.  

Associated Health Topics

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