U.S. think tank debunks WHO reports on environmental causes of child mortality
The Washington D.C.-based Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has released its analysis on a pair of reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO) published in March. The CEI analysis counters the WHO reports – which link the 1.7 million annual deaths of children under 5 years old to the environment – calling them misleading and irresponsible assertions that pollution poses greater health challenges in developing countries than the lack of economic growth and development.
The first WHO study, Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children's
Health and the Environment, provides an update on the latest factors that affect children's health, including "increasing urbanization, industrialization, globalization and climate change." The
second report, Don't Pollute My Future! The Impact of the Environment on Children's
Health, demonstrates the causes of the problems, including inadequate access to clean water and proper sanitation systems. Policy recommendations outlined in the reports include reducing the use of fossil fuels and certain toxic chemicals.
However, Angela Logomasini, CEI Senior Fellow and author of Polluted Logic Taints
WHO Reports on Children's Health says these supposed solutions will do more harm than good because “pollution” is not really the issue as much as the lack of economic development. The author says market-driven economic growth, rather than politically managed “sustainable growth,” is the key to improving public health.
“Recent WHO reports create an inaccurate and incomplete impression that 'industrial pollution' is at the core of children's mortality rates in the developing world," says Logomasini. "By defining children's health challenges as driven by environmental hazards, the WHO fails to address the real issue – poverty.”