It has been known for a long time that constant noise can lead to cardiovascular diseases. A new study done on behalf of the German Environment Agency shows that incessant traffic noise can also increase the risk of depression. A 10-decibel increase in road, railroad and aircraft noise can raise that risk by up to four, five and eleven percent; the figure for anxiety disorder rises by three to 15 percent. UBA President Dirk Messner said, “Noise is still a grossly underestimated health risk in Germany. Many people are exposed to high levels of noise pollution which is impairing health and cutting quality of life. This is why making our cities quieter and thus more appealing is an important task for researchers and policymakers!” read more
This approach seeks to shed light on the extent to which human beings are affected by environmental contaminants. These experts investigate the health risks entailed by exposure to such contaminants by collaboratively sifting through and evaluating data from the fields of human biomonitoring, environmental medicine, toxicology, and microbiology. A prime example of this interdisciplinary approach are the health issues that arise when people spend time indoors (indoor air quality). Another key issue is the impact of noise on human health. The UBA also works on the following ...
... Development and standardization of assay methodologies for chemical and microbiological contaminants in waterbodies and indoor air, and the related issue of quality assurance.
... Gathering data on and assessing human exposure to chemical, physical and microbiological environmental contaminants.
... Environmental hygiene issues, which are crucially important in built-up areas.
... Health related environmental monitoring through our Kinder-Umwelt-Survey (“Children and the environment survey”) and the human specimen bank
... Bathing water hygiene, including elaboration of a national bathing water report for the EU.
... The health aspects of EU directives concerning air and bathing water quality.
... Guidelines for indoor air quality, together with a health oriented assessment of construction-product emissions.
... International cooperative efforts such as the work of the WHO Collaborating Center for Air Quality Management and Air Pollution Control concerning outdoor and indoor air quality in Europe.
The outcomes of our work find their way into environmental hygiene practice and are constantly used as a basis for the elaboration of various standards and regulations in Germany and elsewhere. The UBA is also actively involved in the Aktionsprogramm Umwelt und Gesundheit (APUG; Environmental and Health Action Program), which is being conducted by the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Ministry of Health.
New quality seal for air conditioning systems: good quality air at low energy cost
The air indoors, whether at schools or offices, is often stuffy. Air conditioning systems can provide relief, but they do not always operate as they should. The quality seal for air conditioning systems can help based on its three-phase verification to ensure good indoor air quality and energy-efficiency during planning, installation and operation. read more
Tackling the housing shortage with ecological answers
The shortage of housing is a problem in many large cities and metropolitan areas. The building sector has for years failed to meet its environmental and climate targets. A position paper by the German Environment Agency (UBA) and the Commission for Sustainable Building (KNBau) at UBA investigates how affordable housing can be built without harm to the environment and human health. read more
Germany complies with air quality limit values nearly everywhere in 2021
Germany again had no exceedances of the particulate matter limit values in 2021. The 40 µg/m³ annual mean limit value for nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) is estimated to be exceeded at only one to two percent of the measuring stations close to traffic. More action necessary to protect health. read more
European Mobility Week: Safe and Healthy with Sustainable mobility
Sustainable mobility can promote health and safety. Walking, cycling or using public transport improves mental and physical health and keeps people fit. Low speeds and a traffic system which is geared towards pedestrians and cyclists are all part of greater safety in transportation. European Mobility Week which takes place from 16 to 22 September features citizen actions in towns and cities. read more
Final data on nitrogen dioxide pollution 2020: downward trend continues
The 2020 data for nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) are available for all air monitoring stations in Germany. Six cities exceeded the air quality limit of 40 micrograms NO₂ per cubic metre of air (µg/m³) as an annual average. read more
Award for sustainable building UMWELT & BAUEN 2021: call for entries
The UMWELT & BAUEN award recognises projects that are already realizing the idea of a new European Bauhaus in terms of sustainable building. The prize will be awarded for the second time in 2021, this time in four categories. All stakeholders in the building sector are eligible to apply by the 25 May 2021 deadline. read more
State of the environment 2020: German Environment Agency draws a mixed picture
The "Environmental Monitor" for 2020 from the German Environment Agency (UBA) draws a mixed picture of the condition of the environment in Germany. While there have been recent improvements in air quality or greenhouse gases, other indicators fare poorly. read more