Special Issue "Health in EIA/SEA"

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Gabriel Gulis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Unit for Health Promotion Research, University of Southern Denmark, Niels Bohrs Vej 9-10, DK-6700 Esbjerg, Denmark
Interests: health impact assessment; health in EIA/SEA; global health; public health systems; health promotion
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The response to social, environmental, and economic determinants of health requires multisectoral approaches. Multisectoral action is central to the SDG agenda because of the range of determinants acting upon people’s health, such as environmental and social determinants of health, socioeconomic status, gender, and others. One of the disciplines supporting multisectoral action is the enhanced assessment of health impacts in environmental assessments, such as environmental impact assessments (EIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA).

In 2014, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive within the European Union (2011/92/EU) was amended. The amended directive (2014/52/EU) explicitly includes “population and human health” in the list of topics to be considered in an EIA. This amendment opened new opportunities for health impact assessment (HIA) and for closer collaboration of health and environmental impact assessment experts. Sound published evidence of importance of such collaboration and, to some extent, a merger of assessments already exists, mostly from Australia and New Zealand.

To operationalize the close collaboration and full inclusion of health into Environmental Impact Assessment, resources and capacities are needed. Case studies, both successful and unsuccessful, guidelines, training courses, and working tools need to pre-developed and presented if still missing. Research, mostly done in academia, shall connect to practice with the aim to raise the quality of impact assessment to provide as verified as possible prediction of future impacts. Quality assurance tools should also be developed and applied, following the UK and Wales examples.

This Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is seeking high-quality contributions on all areas of inclusion of health into EIA/SEA, on HIA and all the issues mentioned above. We welcome contributions from all around the world, including critical reviews of failed cases of inclusion of health into EIA/SEA. We invite contributors from academia, impact assessment practice, policy, and the education arena.

Dr. Gabriel Gulis
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • health
  • health impact assessment
  • environmental impact assessment
  • impact assessment

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Looking Ahead: Health Impact Assessment of Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labelling Schema as a Public Health Measure
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1422; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18041422 - 03 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1051
Abstract
This study aimed to describe the underlying process, used methods and major recommendations emerging from a comprehensive and prospective health impact assessment of the endorsement of a front-of-pack nutrition labelling (FOP-NL) system by the Portuguese health authorities. A mixed-methods approach was used to [...] Read more.
This study aimed to describe the underlying process, used methods and major recommendations emerging from a comprehensive and prospective health impact assessment of the endorsement of a front-of-pack nutrition labelling (FOP-NL) system by the Portuguese health authorities. A mixed-methods approach was used to gather information on the impact of four FOP-NL schemes on consumers’ selection of food products according to the perception of their nutritional quality, combining a systematic literature review, focus groups (FG), in-depth individual interviews, and an open-label crossover randomized controlled study. The relevance of FOP-NL as a public health promotion policy has emerged as a consensual idea among either FGs’ participants (i.e., consumers and experts), or interviewed stakeholders. Although all of the evaluated FOP-NLs result better than no system on promoting the choice of the healthiest product, the effectiveness of easy-to-interpret FOP-NL among vulnerable groups raised concerns related to the need of integrating specific nutritional information to promote a better self-management of chronic diseases, and related to the level of literacy of consumers, which could impair the usage of FOP-NL. Educational campaigns addressing skills to use FOP-NL is recommended. Furthermore, a monitoring strategy should be considered to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of this policy in promoting healthier food choices, and in reducing diet-related non-communicable diseases burden. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health in EIA/SEA)
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Article
Lessons from an International Initiative to Set and Share Good Practice on Human Health in Environmental Impact Assessment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1392; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18041392 - 03 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1466
Abstract
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is applied to infrastructure and other large projects. The European Union EIA Directive (2011/92/EU as amended by 2014/52/EU) requires EIAs to consider the effects that a project might have on human health. The International Association for Impact Assessment and [...] Read more.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is applied to infrastructure and other large projects. The European Union EIA Directive (2011/92/EU as amended by 2014/52/EU) requires EIAs to consider the effects that a project might have on human health. The International Association for Impact Assessment and the European Public Health Association prepared a reference paper on public health in EIA to enable the health sector to contribute to this international requirement. We present lessons from this joint action. We review literature on policy analysis, impact assessment and Health Impact Assessment (HIA). We use findings from this review and from the consultation on the reference paper to consider how population and human health should be defined; how the health sector can participate in the EIA process; the relationship between EIA and HIA; what counts as evidence; when an effect should be considered ‘likely’ and ‘significant’; how changes in health should be reported; the risks from a business-as-usual coverage of human health in EIA; and finally competencies for conducting an assessment of human health. This article is relevant for health authorities seeking to ensure that infrastructure, and other aspects of development, are not deleterious to, but indeed improve, human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health in EIA/SEA)
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Article
Analysis of Health in Environmental Assessments—A Literature Review and Survey with a Focus on Denmark
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4570; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16224570 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1018
Abstract
In the European Union, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive (2014/52/EU) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive (2011/92/EU) emphasise the assessment of population and human health. The directives require health to be considered within Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). [...] Read more.
In the European Union, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive (2014/52/EU) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive (2011/92/EU) emphasise the assessment of population and human health. The directives require health to be considered within Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). To date, health is mainly considered in connection with negative environmental factors and in terms of risk assessments. The integration of health in EIA as well as SEA has not been investigated in a Danish context, and this study aims to address the missing knowledge. There is a need for a more comprehensive health assessment within EIA and SEA to comply with the EIA and SEA directives. An integration of health into EIA and SEA will ensure a sound examination of health determinants which can improve decision making and thus comprehensively promote and protect health. To establish the status of the inclusion of the assessment of impacts on health into EIA and SEA, a literature review was performed. In addition, a survey addressed to researchers and practitioners was conducted and analysed through a comparative analysis. The survey examined the needs of practitioners and researchers, focusing on the Danish context, regarding the inclusion of health into EIA and SEA. Enhanced intersectoral cooperation of the health and environmental sectors, more specific guidance documents, and underlying this, stronger political support, were identified among needs for more comprehensive health assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health in EIA/SEA)
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Article
Ecological Risk and Restoration Measures Relating to Heavy Metal Pollution in Industrial and Mining Wastelands
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3985; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16203985 - 18 Oct 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 890
Abstract
In this study, we applied an integrated approach to an ecological risk evaluation of heavy metal pollution in industrial and mining wastelands in Yangxin County, China. A total of 72 sampling sites were designated in the study area. The results show that the [...] Read more.
In this study, we applied an integrated approach to an ecological risk evaluation of heavy metal pollution in industrial and mining wastelands in Yangxin County, China. A total of 72 sampling sites were designated in the study area. The results show that the potential ecological risk levels of Hg and Cd are higher, and the coefficient of variation of mercury levels is large. Cr, Cu, Zn, Pb, Ni, and As are all at low potential ecological risk. The land types with relatively high ecological risks are alum and coal mines. In the soil of alum mines, the risk due to mercury is higher, while in coal mine soil, the risk due to cadmium is relatively higher. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health in EIA/SEA)
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Article
Using Mosses as Bioindicators of Potentially Toxic Element Contamination in Ecologically Valuable Areas Located in the Vicinity of a Road: A Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3963; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16203963 - 17 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 875
Abstract
This study analyzed the impact of road transportation on the concentration of Zn, Ni, Pb, Co, and Cd in moss (Pleurozium schreberi). The study was carried out over five years near a national road running from the north to the east [...] Read more.
This study analyzed the impact of road transportation on the concentration of Zn, Ni, Pb, Co, and Cd in moss (Pleurozium schreberi). The study was carried out over five years near a national road running from the north to the east (Poland) in the area of Natura 2000 sites. Samples were collected at three significantly different locations: (1) near a sharp bend, (2) near a straight section of the road in a woodless area, and (3) in a slightly wooded area. At each location, moss samples were collected from sites situated 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 m from the road edge. The highest Zn and Cd contents in the moss were recorded 6 m from the road edge near a sharp bend (where vehicles brake sharply and accelerate suddenly). At the same location, at a distance of 2 m, the highest Pb concentration was noted, and at a distance of 4 m from the road, the highest Ni concentration was noted. The Co concentration in the moss was the highest near the woodless straight section at a distance of 2 and 12 m from the road. The concentrations of Zn, Pb, Ni, Co (only at the woodless location), and Cd (at all locations) were significantly and negatively correlated with distance from the road. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health in EIA/SEA)
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Article
Distribution, Ecological Risk Assessment, and Bioavailability of Cadmium in Soil from Nansha, Pearl River Delta, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3637; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16193637 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 1126
Abstract
Background: Cadmium (Cd) pollution poses a threat to human health. Examination of the spatial distribution of Cd in soils can be used to assess the risks posed to humans and the environment. Objective: This study determined the enrichment rules and factors influencing Cd [...] Read more.
Background: Cadmium (Cd) pollution poses a threat to human health. Examination of the spatial distribution of Cd in soils can be used to assess the risks posed to humans and the environment. Objective: This study determined the enrichment rules and factors influencing Cd pollution in Nansha, and evaluated the pollution characteristics and bioavailability of Cd in quaternary sediments through 7 deep soil profiles (0–200 cm), 4 boreholes, and 348 topsoil (0–20 cm) samples. Methods: The geo-accumulation index (Igeo) and the potential ecological risk index (Er) were used to assess ecological risk, and bioavailability was determined using multivariate, spatial distribution, and correlation matrix analyses. Results: From the Er, 52% of Nansha was classed as being at very high risk of Cd pollution; a further 36% was classed as dangerous. Cadmium was more abundant in clay soils than in sandy soils. Bioavailable Cd in quaternary sediments was significantly affected by the total Cd, and labile Cd accounted for more than half of the total Cd. Changes in pH mainly affected bioavailable Cd rather than total Cd, affecting the overall bioavailability of Cd. Conclusions: Nansha soils are commonly and seriously contaminated with Cd. An appropriate remediation treatment approach should be used to reduce Cd bioavailability. Furthermore, planting structures in farmland should be adjusted to avoid the impact of heavy metals on human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health in EIA/SEA)
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Article
Eight Elements in Soils from a Typical Light Industrial City, China: Spatial Distribution, Ecological Assessment, and the Source Apportionment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(14), 2591; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16142591 - 20 Jul 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1508
Abstract
Contamination with the eight elements, Hg, As, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn, and Cd, is a serious concern in Zhongshan, which is a typical light industrial city, China. 60 surface soil samples were collected to investigate the concentrations, spatial distribution, human health risk, [...] Read more.
Contamination with the eight elements, Hg, As, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn, and Cd, is a serious concern in Zhongshan, which is a typical light industrial city, China. 60 surface soil samples were collected to investigate the concentrations, spatial distribution, human health risk, and sources of these elements in the soils in Zhongshan. The concentrations of the eight elements were analyzed while using ordinary kriging analysis, pollution load index (PLI), potential ecological risk index (RI), human health risk, correlation analysis, and factor analysis. The mean concentrations of the tested elements, excluding Pb and As, were higher than the soil background values in the Pearl River Delta. The spatial distribution of the tested elements revealed a zonal distribution pattern and high values in several areas. The mean PLI and RI indicated slight and moderate risk levels. Health risk assessment demonstrates that both children and adults were more exposed to Cu than to Cr, As, and Cd. However, the associated carcinogenic risk is acceptable. Hg that originated from human activities; As, Cr, Cu, Ni, and Cd originated from industrial activities; and, Pb and Zn originated from transportation activities. Cd was the main pollutant in the study area and it was present at higher concentrations when compared with those of the other elements. Therefore, Zhongshan should encourage enterprises to conduct industrial transformation to control the ecological risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health in EIA/SEA)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Driving paradigms for HIA ad EIA/SEA; similarities and differences
Authors: Fina Haigh
Affiliation: Health Equity Research Development Unit, Sydney Local Health District, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2033, Australia

Title: Looking ahead: health impact assessment of front-of-pack nutrition labelling schema
Authors: Rodrigo Feteira-Santos 1; Violeta Alarcão 1,2; Osvaldo Santos 1; Ana Virgolino 1; João Fernandes 1; Carlota Pacheco Vieira 3; Maria João Gregório 3,4,5; Paulo Nogueira 1,3,6; Andreia Silva Costa 1,3,7; Pedro Graça 3,4,5
Affiliation: 1 Instituto de Saúde Ambiental, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa. Avenida Professor Egas Moniz, 1649-028 Lisboa, Portugal; 2 Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia (CIES-IUL), Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Lisboa, Portugal; 3 Direção-Geral da Saúde, Lisboa, Portugal; 4 Programa Nacional para a Promoção da Alimentação Saudável, Direção-Geral da Saúde, Lisboa, Portugal; 5 Faculdade de Ciências da Nutrição e Alimentação da Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal; 6 Laboratório de Biomatemática, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa. Avenida Professor Egas Moniz, 1649-028 Lisboa, Portugal; 7 Escola Superior de Enfermagem de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal. Avenida Professor Egas Moniz, 1649-028 Lisboa, Portugal

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