Burden of disease based methods for estimating the socio-economic cost of environmental stressors

BEST-COST aims to improve our understanding of the socioeconomic cost of environmental stressors in Europe. It will focus on air and noise pollution and its impact on health equity and well-being. The 4-year project is led by the Belgian Institute for Health Sciensano and brings together a consortium of 17 partners from 10 European countries and the United States, including RIVM. 

The socioeconomic impact of environmental stressors is significant, yet there exists a gap in policy initiatives. Air pollution leads to an estimated 400,000 premature deaths in Europe alone, and noise pollution leads to approximately 12,000 premature deaths in Europe. Evidence-based policymaking on environmental stressors currently faces methodological challenges in quantifying the socioeconomic costs of such stressors and unequal distribution across different communities.

To address this, BEST-COST will develop a novel methodological framework to quantify the disease burden, cost and social and health inequalities caused by air and noise pollution. The BEST-COST framework will enable researchers and policymakers to adopt a harmonised approach and use improved economic and health modelling in policy impact assessments. In addition, the applicability of the framework of other stressors will be explored. This will ultimately contribute to improved policies and practices that reduce the burden of disease, and to living and working environments that are more health-promoting, equitable and sustainable.

Role of RIVM

RIVM will contribute to the burden of disease methodology and the translating of the framework to other stressors. RIVM colleagues Brigit Staatsen and Henk Hildrink are involved in BEST-COST. 


BEST-COST has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101095408.