Cover Image
close this bookConducting Environmental Impact Assessment in Developing Countries (United Nations University, 1999, 375 p.)
close this folder9. Emerging developments in EIA
close this folder9.5 Environmental health impact assessment
View the document(introduction...)
View the document9.5.1 Need for EHIA
Open this folder and view contents9.5.2 Potential methodologies and approaches for addressing health impacts
Open this folder and view contents9.5.3 Proposed methodology

9.5.1 Need for EHIA

The WHO has identified a number of reasons for the need to undertake an EHIA. They include: prevention is better than cure, as with other forms of assessment; it is specified in many forms of EIA legislation; environmental degradation is linked to health impacts; the methodology can be incorporated in EIA; systematic inclusion of health impacts improves the legitimacy of the decisions made and the process by which they are taken; human health issues often prompt a public response and/or involvement; and there is no argument against it!

Although the need for EHIA is self-evident and is clearly spelt out by the WHO, there are some inherent difficulties in undertaking an EHIA: lack of baseline data on humans in local communities; the timescale for health effects to show up is very long; the interaction of different chemical, physical, and biological agents, their synergistic/antagonistic effects, etc., make it difficult to isolate the individual agent or group of agents responsible for the adverse impact - in other words, a clear cause/effect relationship is difficult to determine; the variety of human responses and exposures; limited knowledge of dose-response relationships; and planners and decision makers may feel that health is not their responsibility.