Abstract of PhD Thesis

Environmental Burden of Disease assessment for exposure to lead, outdoor air pollution and unsafe drinking water in the Republic of Ireland

Emer O’Connell, University College Dublin (2011)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Environmental Burden of Disease (EBD) methodology was applied to estimate the burden of disease from exposure to lead, outdoor air pollution, and unsafe drinking water in Ireland. 

Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) estimates indicate that the burden of disease from exposure to lead in Ireland is relatively low, although there is uncertainty around potential exposures via drinking water. For outdoor air pollution, despite relatively low exposures the proportional contribution was significant, particularly for cardiopulmonary and lung cancer mortality. For exposure to unsafe drinking water, while the mortality rate was low, due to relatively high incidence rates and lost days of productivity, associated costs may be significant.

The assessment was useful in quantifying the health burden from these risk factors in a comparable and consistent way. The results facilitate the development of Environmental Health Indicators for Ireland as input to the Environmental Health Information System for Europe.