In their August editorial, the PLOS Medicine Editors reflect on a recent Policy Forum article by Jason Corburn and Alison Cohen*, which describes the need for urban health equity indicators to guide public health policy in cities and urban areas.
The Editors focus on the need for better air quality data for the world’s cities because many cities with the worst airborne particulate levels are in low- and middle-income countries and often have limited data.
Worryingly, the World Health Organization estimates that 1.34 million premature deaths were at attributable to outdoor air pollution in 2008.
The Editors note that, “for [air quality] indicators to be effective they must be context-specific and relevant, and be made available transparently so that they can be open to interpretation and re-evaluation.”
*Corburn J, Cohen AK (2012) Why We Need Urban Health Equity Indicators: Integrating Science, Policy, and Community. PLoS Med 9(8): e1001285. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001285 http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001285
Funding: The authors are each paid a salary by the Public Library of Science, and they wrote this editorial during their salaried time.
Competing Interests: The authors’ individual competing interests are at http://www.plosmedicine.org/static/editorsInterests.action. PLOS is funded partly through manuscript publication charges, but the PLOS Medicine Editors are paid a fixed salary (their salary is not linked to the number of papers published in the journal).
Citation: The PLOS Medicine Editors (2012) The Air That We Breathe: Addressing the Risks of Global Urbanization on Health. PLoS Med 9(8): e1001301. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001301
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