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Preventable Environmental Exposures Responsible for Over 13 Million Deaths Annually

WASHINGTON (June 16th, 2006) -- A study released today by the World Health Organization (WHO) provides compelling new evidence to link adverse health issues with exposure to ecological threats such as contaminated water and infectious diseases. The study details for the first time not only how specific diseases and injuries are caused by environmental risks, but also the extent to which environmental hazards cause health problems, and how these risks can be averted.

"This study affirms the need to encourage government and industry to prevent diseases by cleaning up environmental risks," said Dr. Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "We have the solutions; what we need now is to have these solutions implemented. Safe, healthy families need a safe, healthy environment. That's why it's so important to provide clean drinking water and modern medicine and technologies to communities around the world."

The four main diseases attributed to unhealthy living environments are diarrhea, lower respiratory infections, accidental injuries, and malaria. And the death rates for all four of these can be dramatically reduced with the utilization of technologies and measures that already exist. Such measures include improved water resource management and storage, stricter policies towards the use of toxic substances, improved hygiene, and better safety measures for existing infrastructure.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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