Commentary

Environmental health literacy within the Italian Asbestos project: experience in Italy and Latin American contexts


Abstract


The adoption of multidisciplinary approaches to foster scientific research in public health and strengthen its impact on society is nowadays unavoidable. Environmental health literacy (EHL) may be defined as the ability to search for, understand, evaluate, and use environmental health information to promote the adoption of informed choices, the reduction of health risks, the improvement of quality of life and the protection of the environment. Both public health and environmental health literacy involve access to and dissemination of scientific information (including research findings), individual and collective decision-making and critical thinking. Specific experiences in environmental health literacy have been developed within the Italian National Asbestos Project (Pro-getto Amianto) in Latin American countries where the use of asbestos is still permitted, and in Italy where a specific effort in EHL has been dedicated to the risks caused by the presence of fluoro-edenite fibers in the town of Biancavilla (Sicily). Taking into account the different geographical and socio-economic contexts, both public health and environ-mental health literacy were addressed to a wide range of stakeholders, within and outside the health domain.


Keywords


environmental health literacy, asbestos, fluoro-edenite, international cooperation, Latin America

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