GP: Integrated Environment and Health Monitoring - Poland PDF Print E-mail

Joanna Pruchnicka, Janina Wuczyñska, Newsletter, Polish Environmental Health Action Plan, Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, Sosnowiec, Vol. 1, 2002

Transformations which had been taking place in Poland at the beginning of the 1990's resulted in many positive changes in the field of environmental protection. The changes have been mostly associated with limitation of economic activity, economic reforms aimed at modernization of industry, active ecological policy and mobilization of considerable financial resources for investment projects in the field of environmental protection.
Apart from these positive developments, Poland still faces relatively high emission levels of some air pollutants. Moreover, concentrations of many health affecting environmental factors have not decreased. Results of epidemiological studies confirm occurrence of health disturbances in some regions of the country, considering the current levels of environmental contamination. In these regions of the country, excessive exposure to some environmental hazards, including mutagenic and carcinogenic factors, has been noted.
In Poland, environmental quality is monitored by the Ministry of Health through the sanitary-epidemiological stations and by the Ministry of Environment through the environmental protection inspection. The health status of the population is monitored by the National Institute of Hygiene within the National Health Programme. The existing monitoring systems do not, however, provide sufficient data on the magnitude and hot-spots of environmentally-related health effects.

Within the Long-Term Programme “Environment and Health”, the task oriented towards development and model implementation of integrated monitoring of environmental health hazards has been executed since the year 2000. The task is based on collected information on environment and health monitoring systems operating in Poland. The WHO recommendations on application of environmental health indicators in monitoring systems are also used. Information and data obtained during the first stage of the project provided background for designing a model system for monitoring of environmental health hazards in ecological hot-spot areas (the regions of Silesia and Lower Silesia). During execution of the monitoring task, special attention has been paid to possibilities of application of modern environmental health risk assessment methods. The pilot study on this issue has demonstrated scarcity of data necessary for full application of the evaluated methodology. Within the analysis, feasibility study on application of WHO recommendations has been performed.
At present, the activities under the task have focused on collecting data needed for calculation of environmental health indicators in the above mentioned regions of Poland. Activities aimed at establishment of a data base and at development of presentation methods on integrated monitoring are also continued.
Results of the pilot implementation of the model environment and health monitoring will be used for follow-up activities and studies on this issue, to be continued within the framework of the Long-Term Programme “Environment and Health” as well as the WHO project “Environmental Health Indicators”.
The outcomes of the pilot implementation of the monitoring system for environment and health will also provide framework for development of proposal of a legal act which would establish teams for integrated environmental health monitoring at regional sanitary-epidemiological stations.

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