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Manchester Environmental Research Institute

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The environment's effect on human health

More and more of us are living in urban environments, what impact does this have on our health?

As the population grows, so too does the number of people living in urban environments. As a result, societies are exposed to a range of environmental pressures and influences which are often complex and difficult to quantify, but understanding them is essential for maintaining the quality of life for billions of people. This theme addresses the impact of the environment on human health and wellbeing in the current and changing conditions.

Our key areas:

Pollution and its impact on human health

People in urban environments are often exposed to high levels of pollution; airborne emissions from traffic, waste in water and soils, and contaminants such as pesticides. These pollutants can have severe adverse effects on human health which range from damage to cardiorespiratory health to increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes or cognitive decline. This sub-theme brings together scientific understanding and policy to plan effective methods of regulation, and our experts work to measure and predict air pollution, and assess pollution's impact on epidemiology and human systems.

Healthy environments, well-being and quality of life

Our environments are evolving rapidly both due to natural variations and human interventions. Soon, three out of four of us will live in large urban areas, so it is important to understand how cities impact on our health and wellbeing. Our research looks to create a more sustainable future and better built environments to house our growing population.

This sub-theme combines expertise in urban pollution, urban planning, commodity supply and smart cities to understand environmental change, how it impacts our health, and how we respond to change.

Climate and health

The climate has a large effect on our heath and climatic changes pose substantial risks both globally and to the UK. Changes are giving rise to increased temperatures, changes in weather and variations in the pattern of pests and disease spread. By bringing expertise from around the University these threats and our responses to climate and environmental changes can be better understood. We have experts working across key areas including; pathology and immunity, disease spread and temperature.

The exposome: determining impact of the totality of environment on human health and well-being

The exposome describes the total environment to which humans are exposed during the course of their life (through their dietary, domestic and other exposures) and the effect that this combination of exposures has on our health and well-being. This sub-theme brings together data science and new approaches of measuring and collecting exposome data to improve epidemiological outcomes.