Measuring the environmental burden of disease in South Korea: A population-based study

Seok Jun Yoon, Hyeong Su Kim, Jongsik Ha, Eun Jung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This study attempted to measure the environmental burden of disease by examining mortality and disability rates in South Korea, permitting international comparisons. Methods: Disability-adjusted life years (DALY) was used to analyze data from public records. Years of life lost (YLL) and years lost to disability (YLD) were measured in terms of incidence rate and number of deaths. Attributable risks were based on those for WHO Western Pacific Regions. For air pollution, attributable risk was calculated using local PM10 levels and relative risk. Results: The total Korean environmental burden of disease was 17.98 per 1000 persons and the most serious risk factor was air pollution, at 6.89per1000 persons. Occupation was the second highest contributing factor, at 3.29 per 1000 persons, followed by indoor air pollution at 2.91 per 1000 persons. The DALY of air-pollution (indoor and outdoor) was 9.80 per 1000 persons, accounting for more than half of the total environmental burden of disease. The burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and asthma were 4.07, 3.16, and 1.96 per 1000 persons, respectively. Conclusions: Respiratory illnesses comprised most of the disease burden, the majority of which was linked to air pollution. The present results are important as they could be used to make evidence-based decisions regarding the management of diseases and environmental-risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7938-7948
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 13
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • DALY
  • Environmental burden of disease
  • Environmental disease
  • Environmental risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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