Environmental Health

Recent Reports and Resources

Recently Toronto Public Health has completed and collaborated these reports related to the built environment and health. 

For detailed reports please visit the following links:

A recent TPH collaborative project that compiled health evidence for Complete Streets produced the following three reports:

Health Effects of LED Street Lights

In the last decade, cities have been looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption and reduce operating costs of street lighting.  One way to do this has been to replace the existing high pressure sodium (HPS) street lighting with more energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) street lights.

The American Medical Association recently released a position statement recommending communities that are converting street lighting to LED use lower correlated colour temperature (CCT) lights to minimize potential health and environmental effects.  Its recommendations included proper conversion to LED lighting, to reduce fossil fuel and energy consumption; minimizing and controlling blue light emission to reduce glare and using 3000K or lower (CCT) for outdoor installations, including shielding to minimize glare and dimmable lighting for off-peak time periods.

Toronto Public Health has released a briefing note on this issue.

What is the built environment?

The built environment means the buildings, transportation systems, energy systems, open space, and agricultural lands that make up and support our communities.The built environment can have a significant impact on human health.

Built Environment and Human Health

The built environment can have a significant impact on human health, including:

  • people's levels of physical activity;
  • the safety of travel;
  • air quality;
  • access to jobs and services;
  • opportunities for social interaction and recreation.

Healthy Toronto by Design(PDF) describes how human health is affected by a broad suite of factors such as income, education, employment, food security, quality of housing, transportation services, and access to health services.

Green space and health

Why nature matters to health

Abundant, diverse and well maintained green spaces are important features of a healthy city. Three reports released in September 2015 describe the many health benefits of green space:

These reviews fill a gap in the understanding of the relationship between green space and human health and highlight the importance of continued investments in Toronto’s natural heritage. 

Artificial Turf in Toronto

Artificial turf is increasingly being used in places like sports fields, child care facilities and streetscapes. Toronto Public Health completed a health impact assessment to better understand the potential implications of this increase in use.
LED streetlight with building in background

Health Effects of LED Street Lights

In the last decade, cities have been looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption and reduce operating costs of street lighting.  One way to do this has been to replace the existing high pressure sodium (HPS) street lighting with more energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) street lights.

The American Medical Association recently released a position statement recommending communities that are converting street lighting to LED use lower correlated colour temperature (CCT) lights to minimize potential health and environmental effects.  Its recommendations included proper conversion to LED lighting, to reduce fossil fuel and energy consumption; minimizing and controlling blue light emission to reduce glare and using 3000K or lower (CCT) for outdoor installations, including shielding to minimize glare and dimmable lighting for off-peak time periods.

Toronto Public Health has released a briefing note on this issue.

Building a Healthy Toronto

Building a Healthy Toronto

Find information about current research and policy initiatives for a Healthy Built Environment, which refers to buildings, transportation systems, energy systems, open space, and agricultural lands that make up and support our communities.

Active City: Designing for Health

The Active City: Designing for Health report focuses on the city’s physical built environment to create healthy places that encourage active living for all Torontonians.  The report outlines design principles to guide changes to neighbourhoods, streets and buildings that allow people of all ages and abilities to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines without extra costs for physical exercise.

Health Evidence for Complete Streets

The Healthy Streets reports present available health evidence about how the design elements of Complete Streets are associated with more active lifestyles and better health. The three key elements of complete streets that have greatest impact on health include:

  •  Improved Accessibility (ability to get to a destination)
  •  Safety and Security
  •  Enhancing the Experience

Noise and Your Health

Noise is an issue that all cities deal with. It is possible for noise to have health impacts. Take steps to minimize your exposures to harmful levels of noise.

Getting our Neighbourhoods Moving

picture of man walking in neighbourhood

Getting our Neighbourhoods Moving

The way we move around our neighbourhoods from day to day affects our health. Walking, cycling, rollerblading, skateboarding and using a wheelchair are all ways that people can travel from place to place and get physical exercise at the same time.