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Health and the quality of our environment are closely intertwined and influence each other. Air pollution and water quality have an impact on human health, and medicinal residues excreted by humans and livestock have a negative effect on water, soils, and fauna. In addition, antibiotic resistance can also spread through environmental pathways.

Ecologic Institute has been working for many years on various aspects of the relationship between the environment and health. For example, the area of human and veterinary medicine in the environment includes exploring potential measures to reduce the entry of medicines into the environment, developing stakeholder information, and producing targeted communication materials for different stakeholder groups on the impact of their actions and possible responses. The results range from policy recommendations for authorities at European and national level to training materials for farmers and veterinarians which support thematic awareness raising.

Our transdisciplinary research on health lies at the interface of environmental and life sciences as well as social and political sciences. To find appropriate responses, Ecologic Institute collaborates with academia, governments, industry, and civil society.

We also work at the nexus of climate change and health. We are involved in the assessment of climate change impacts on human health, using qualitative and quantitative assessment concepts. We analyze adaptation measures in the field of health, with a focus on heat waves, among others. We evaluate policies and develop policy recommendations, e.g. based on cost-benefit or multi-criteria analyses. Among others, (side) effects of nature-based solutions on human health are analyzed.

In addition, the Institute assesses harms and risks to human health caused by environmental pollution, such as the health impacts of air pollution. Among other things, Ecologic Institute provides advice on methods for quantifying and assessing these environmental effects. In addition, Ecologic Institute advises on relevant legal issues, such as the instrument of clean air planning as an integrated approach and legal measures of emission reduction in Vietnam.


Related Topics

Resource Conservation + Circular Economy








Aaron Best
Coordinator Digitalization and AI
Senior Fellow



Nature-based Solutions and Green Infrastructure

International Development


Land Use



McKenna Davis
Coordinator Nature-based Solutions
Senior Fellow









Jenny Tröltzsch
Coordinator Adaptation
Senior Fellow
Selected Projects for Health

Air quality and Environmental Burden of Disease

Evaluation of the WHO Approach to Estimate the Environmental Burden of Disease
The Environmental Burden of Disease is part of the Global Burden of Disease methodology originally developed by the WHO and others. To use EBD estimates in Germany for environmental and health policy prioritisation, it is important to review them and to develop... Read more
| Fotolia © Kzenon
The valuation of damages and risks for the human health caused by environmental pressures is a methodological challenge, as there are no market prices for most of those damages and risks. But a number of economic methods have been developed to estimate and value those... Read more

Pharmaceuticals in the environment

Veterinary medicinal products (VMPs) and their metabolites are increasingly becoming the focus of scientific and public debate as environmental contaminants. The project developed an overview of research results, mitigation measures and concepts to reduce the inputs... Read more
| Bob Nichols / Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service., via Wikimedia Commons
Residues of veterinary medicines (VETs) can increasingly be detected in soil and water and are becoming the focus of scientific and public debate. This project created information and teaching materials for veterinarians and farmers, in order to make them aware of how... Read more
| Fotolia © Caleb Foster
The Ecologic Institute together with York university and Faust & Backhaus developed proposals on how to take better account of environmental risks in the authorisation decisions for veterinary pharmaceuticals. The project team assessed different regulations for... Read more
Over the last couple of decades, pharmaceutical products have been repeatedly found in environmental waters and even in drinking water. Although the effects of pharmaceuticals when ingested as medicine are well studied, the continuous ingestion of trace concentrations... Read more

Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessments of Drugs in the Environment (PHARMAS)

| Fotolia © JcJg Photography
Pharmaceuticals in the environment is an issue receiving growing attention. Over the past few years, the amount of research on the potential environmental effects and risks of pharmaceuticals has greatly increased. It thus becomes essential to point out key issues to be... Read more

Pharmaceutical Products in Environmental Waters (KNAPPE)


Climate change and health

Economics of Climate Change: Costs and Benefits of Adaptation Measures for Climate Change
Within the "German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change", it is necessary to compare and prioritize different adaptation measures. One approach is to use economic instruments, especially cost-benefit analyses. However, there is also a need to evaluate adaptation... Read more
Änderung der Jahresmitteltemperatur [°C] in Deutschland (Quelle: DAS)
The Adaptation Action Plan constitutes the central reference document for measures targeting adaptation to climate change in Germany. In connection with the 2015 update of this action plan, Ecologic Institute and INFRAS provided technical support to the German Federal... Read more

Policy Mix for an Updated Adaptation Action Plan

All projects on Health
Selected Publications for Health
Cover of the report "The nature – climate change – mental health nexus: A literature review"

© Ecologic Institute

The complex interactions between nature, climate change, and mental health are being increasingly explored amid increasing environmental challenges facing society. This study explores these connections, focusing on (1) how mental health is affected by the effects of a... Read more

Gvein, Maren Haug and Davis, McKenna (2023): The nature – climate change – mental health nexus: A literature review. Ecologic Institute, Berlin.

1st page of the policy brief "Why is nature restoration critical to improving human health and well-being?"

© Ecologic Institute, IEEP

The EU Commission published its proposal for a new Nature Restoration Regulation in June 2022. In this context, IEEP and Ecologic Institute – as part of the Think Sustainable Europe network – published a series of thematic policy briefs to inform Members of the European... Read more

Gvein, Maren; McKenna Davis 2022: Why is nature restoration critical to improving human health and well-being? IEEP, Ecologic Institute: Brussels, Berlin.

first page of the report "Opportunities for health engagement in European climate policies Scoping study for the EPHA" with logos and the key recommendations

© Ecologic Institute

While climate change is established as a growing global crisis, the impact on human health and well-being are only more recently being explored. The World Health Organisation is creating momentum in this regard, with a recently issued health-driven call for climate... Read more

Davis, M; Gvein, M; Meysner, A; Stainforth, T; Troeltzsch, J (2022): Opportunities for health engagement in European climate policies: Scoping study for the EPHA. Ecologic Institute and Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP). Funded by the EPHA and Health Programme of the European Commission.

Umwelt & Gesundheit 05/2015
Srebotnjak, Tanja et al. 2015: Methodische Grundlagen des Environment Burden of Disease (EBD)-Ansatzes der WHO zur quantitativen Bewertung von umweltbedingten Krankheitslasten. Chancen, Risiken und Grenzen der Methodik aus naturwissenschaftlicher, rechtlicher und... Read more

Srebotnjak, Tanja et al. 2015: Methodische Grundlagen des Environment Burden of Disease (EBD)-Ansatzes der WHO zur quantitativen Bewertung von umweltbedingten Krankheitslasten. Chancen, Risiken und Grenzen der Methodik aus naturwissenschaftlicher, rechtlicher und ethischer Perspektive (EBDreview), Dessau-Roßlau. ISSN 1862-4340.

This study about the costs and benefits of adaptation measures in Germany shows that many such measures can deliver results and are economically viable. Included here are green roofs that protect against heat waves in cities, the restoration of floodplains, and heat... Read more

Tröltzsch, J.; Görlach; B.; Peter, M.; Lückge; H.; Sartorius, C. (2012): Kosten und Nutzen von Anpassungsmaßnahmen an den Klimawandel: Analyse von 28 Anpassungsmaßnahmen in Deutschland. (Costs and benefits of adaptation options against climate change: Analysis of 28 adaptation option for Germany.) Funded by German Federal Environment Agency. Dessau.

The project, "Policy Mix for an Updated Adaptation Action Plan," aimed at developing science-based recommendations for the update to the Adaptation Action Plan of the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change. The focus was on the compilation and evaluation of... Read more

Blobel, Daniel; Tröltzsch, Jenny; Peter, Martin; Bertschmann, Damaris; Lückge, Helen (2016): Vorschlag für einen Policy Mix für den Aktionsplan Anpassung an den Klimawandel II. Series Climate Change | 19/2016. Dessau-Roßlau: Umweltbundesamt (UBA).

All publications on Health
Selected Events for Health
Rodrigo Vidaurre, Ecologic Institut
Ecologic Institute organised and moderated an international workshop on the monograph system, which was jointly convened by ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety) and UBA (German Federal Environment Agency). The workshop, titled... Read more

Workshop:Establishing an Environmental Monograph System for Veterinary Medicinal Products

Brussels, Belgium
Fotolia_© Valentine
In December 2011 Ecologic Institute and the Institute for Energy Economics and the Rational Use of Energy (IER) at the University of Stuttgart began a 2-year study funded by the German Environmental Agency (UBA) on the chances, risks, and limitations of the World Health... Read more
All events on Health
Selected Presentations for Health
Linking CAP & WFD Facts – Results - Upcoming issues
The meeting, which took place at COPA-COGECA in Brussels, was attended by representatives from different agricultural unions of the EU. Thomas Dworak focused his lecture on the main links between the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Common Agricultural... Read more

Speech:Linking CAP & WFD Facts – Results - Upcoming issues

Brussels, Belgium
All presentations on Health