Pollution and other environmental hazards pose health risks to everyone, but have greater impacts on some people due to their age or state of health. Individuals’ ability to avoid, or cope with these hazards is also influenced by their income, employment status or level of education. A European Environment Agency (EEA) report Unequal exposure and unequal impacts: social vulnerability to air pollution, noise and extreme temperatures in Europe report assesses the links between social and demographic inequalities and exposure to air pollution, noise and extreme temperatures at various scales in Europe.
Targeted action is needed to better protect the poor, the elderly and children from environmental hazards like air and noise pollution and extreme temperatures, especially in Europe’s eastern and southern regions. The (EEA) report Unequal exposure and unequal impacts: social vulnerability to air pollution, noise and extreme temperatures in Europe’ warns that the health of Europe’s most vulnerable citizens remains disproportionately affected by these hazards, despite overall improvements in Europe’s environmental quality. The report draws attention to the close links between social and environmental problems across Europe. The distribution of these environmental threats and the impacts they have on human health closely mirror differences in income, unemployment and education levels across Europe.