Environment key to human health

Avoiding fish high on the food chain in the Amazon because of the bioaccumulation of mercury from slash-and-burn agricultural techniques… Plastering homes with superior local cement to prevent the cracks where kissing bugs lurk, waiting to bite humans and transmit Chagas disease… Encouraging people in rural Lebanon to eat a traditional purslane-and-yogurt condiment rather than lower-protein, higher-fat coleslaw… These projects have shown that sustaining the local environment is essential to human health in many parts of the world. Analyzing the environment and health together — environmentally sound development and human development — is an emerging area dubbed “eco-health.” It crosses traditional disciplinary lines, involving social sciences (such as class and gender issues in developing communities) as well as public health and environmental sciences. Issues affecting communities must involve the people in them, so much of the research is “participative.” For more information about eco-health and details of these projects, visit the International Development Research Centre site.

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