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Evaluation of the second national environmental health action plan - summary and recommendations

Using both publicly available and semi-public databases, this report provides information on the trends in the quality of living and work environments, the principal targets adopted for the 2nd national environmental health action plan (NEHAP).  Nine areas have been analysed:  air quality, both indoors and outdoors, water quality ; exposure to noise and to toxic substances; occupational exposure ; environmental black spots; substandard housing; exposure of the more vulnerable  groups of population to toxic and reprotoxic substances and to endocrine disruptors.

The Haut Conseil de la santé public (HCSP, French High Council for public health) also looked into the contribution of the 2nd NEHAP in reducing the social and territorial inequalities in the exposure to the risks caused by such types of pollution.

Given the length of time required to implement the necessary actions defined in the 2nd NEHAP, and then to have valid assessment of their effects, the results of any of those actions on population exposures remain difficult to evaluate. 

The conclusions concerning the trends in the environmental health situation over the past ten years vary according to the environmental media that are analysed (outdoor air, indoor air, water, etc.), the type of pollutant studied (particles, pesticides, metals, etc.) or the nuisances considered (substandard housing, noise, etc.).

The reduction in social or territorial inequalities in exposure to pollutants and nuisances and in their associated risks could not be properly analysed due to insufficient and inadequate available data.

The HCSP highlights the flaws in the information systems concerning the quality of the environment and the population exposure. The environmental health information system is scattered and not suited to these types of analysis and to understanding environmental inequalities.

The HCSP puts forward recommendations for precise objectives when preparing the 3rd NEHAP and the regional environmental health action plans (REHAPs) along with recommendations for the governance and complementarity between the national and regional plans.

This document was endorsed by the Executive Committee of the HCSP on 19th October 2013.

See : Health Environment 2 nd National Action Plan 2009 > 2013 [PDF]

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