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Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2018 Jun;61(6):674-683. doi: 10.1007/s00103-018-2739-6.

[Environmental justice as an approach to tackle environmental health inequalities].

[Article in German]

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Institut für Public Health und Pflegeforschung, Abteilung Sozialepidemiologie, Universität Bremen, Grazer Str. 4, 28359, Bremen, Deutschland.
Fachgebiet II 1.1 "Übergreifende Angelegenheiten Umwelt und Gesundheit", Umweltbundesamt, Berlin, Deutschland.
Fakultät für Gesundheitswissenschaften, AG 7 - Umwelt und Gesundheit, Universität Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Deutschland.
Department of Community Health, Hochschule für Gesundheit, Bochum, Deutschland.


Current international studies show that environment-related diseases disproportionately affect vulnerable people. This is a case of environmental injustice. Environmental justice goes beyond the mere description of environment- and health-related social inequalities by comprising two dimensions of justice as a normative approach: distributional and procedural justice. Attempts to explain the link between social circumstances, the environment and health deal with both the socially unequal distribution of environmental hazards and environmental resources (exposure variation) and social differences in vulnerability to the health effects of environmental exposures (effect modification). Integrated monitoring approaches provide the basis for deriving interventions under various aspects of environmental justice. Parting from public health research and embedded in the Health in All Policies (HiAP) concept, environmental justice has now been taken up in a number of fields, including politics, administration and practice. There are strategic considerations and attempts to anchor it in politics at the federal, state and the communal level, both by government and non-government groups. Health-promoting urban development is a core field for intervention. The Soziale Stadt (Social City) programme for promoting urban planning and construction as well as place oriented sectoral planning make an important contribution by helping to focus on urban spaces with multiple health hazards and to implement target group-oriented participation processes. There continues to be a need to develop methods and systematically implemented evaluations of political strategies and corresponding interventions regarding their effects on inequalities in health and environmental justice.


Environmental justice; Health in All Policies; Healthy urban development; Integrated monitoring; Spatial dimension


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