Environmental burden of disease

Our Environmental Burden of Disease Study aims to estimate the health impact from environmental risk factors in New Zealand.

This study will provide useful evidence for policy makers. The evidence can be used to prioritise environmental risk factors, depending on their health impact. 

Burden of disease due to second-hand smoke

In 2016, we released a report on the burden of disease from second-hand smoke exposure in New Zealand.

Key findings:

  • An estimated 104 people died from second-hand smoke exposure in New Zealand in 2010.
  • About 1989 healthy years of life (DALYs) were lost due to second-hand smoke in 2010. Most of the health loss (84%) was due to premature death.
  • Children and Māori were disproportionately affected by second-hand smoke exposure.


pdficon small The Burden of Disease from Second-hand Smoke in New Zealand (July 2016) (pdf, 0.6 MB) 

Mason, K.M. & Borman, B. (2016). Burden of disease from second-hand smoke in New ZealandNew Zealand Medical Journal, 129 (1432), 16-25

Other topics for our study

We are currently working on burden of estimates for the following environmental risks:

  • UV exposure
  • lead.

Measures of the health burden include:

  • deaths
  • hospitalisations
  • DALYs (disability-adjusted life years), which indicate the number of healthy life-years lost due to premature mortality and illness.

We follow guidance from the World Health Organization environmental burden of disease methodologies.

For more information on this study, email Kylie Mason.

Useful links

The following links may be useful if you are interested in previous estimates of environmental burden of disease estimates for New Zealand:

Updated Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand Study
Prepared in 2012 by Emission Impossible and others for the Health Research Council of New Zealand, Ministry of Transport, Ministry for the Environment and NZ Transport Agency. 

Infectious Diseases Attributable to Household Crowding in New Zealand: A systematic review and burden of disease estimate (pdf)
Published in 2013 by the University of Otago, Wellington 

New Zealand Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study, 2006–2016
Reports published in 2013 by the Ministry of Health.

World Health Organization Environmental Burden of Disease: Country profiles (2004)

 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study


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