Chile confronts its environmental health future after 25 years of accelerated growth

Paulina Pino, Verónica Iglesias, René Garreaud, Sandra Cortés, Mauricio Canals, Walter Folch, Soledad Burgos, Karen Levy, Luke P. Naeher, Kyle Steenland

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

34 Citas (Scopus)


BACKGROUND Chile has recently been reclassified by the World Bank from an upper-middleincome country to a high-income country. There has been great progress in the last 20 to 30 years in relation to air and water pollution in Chile. Yet after 25 years of unrestrained growth, there remain clear challenges posed by air and water pollution, as well as climate change. OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to review environmental health in Chile. METHODS In late 2013, a 3-day workshop on environmental health was held in Santiago, Chile, bringing together researchers and government policymakers. As a follow-up to that workshop, here we review the progress made in environmental health in the past 20 to 30 years and discuss the challenges of the future. We focus on air and water pollution and climate change, which we believe are among the most important areas of environmental health in Chile. RESULTS Air pollution in some cities remains among the highest in the continent. Potable water is generally available, but weak state supervision has led to serious outbreaks of infectious disease and ongoing issues with arsenic exposure in some regions. Climate change modeling in Chile is quite sophisticated, and a number of the impacts of climate change can be reasonably predicted in terms of which areas of the country are most likely to be affected by increased temperature and decreased availability of water, as well as expansion of vector territory. Some health effects, including changes in vector-borne diseases and excess heat mortality, can be predicted. However, there has yet to be an integration of such research with government planning. CONCLUSIONS Although great progress has been made, currently there are a number of problems. We suspect that the Chilean experience in environmental health may be of some use for other Latin American countries with rapid economic development.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)354-367
Número de páginas14
PublicaciónAnnals of Global Health
EstadoPublicada - 1 may. 2015
Publicado de forma externa


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