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The World in Medicine
January 18, 2006

Ecosystem Degradation

JAMA. 2006;295(3):265. doi:10.1001/jama.295.3.265-d

Harmful effects of global environmental degradation to human health are already being felt and could grow significantly worse over the next 50 years, according to a new report from the World Health Organization.

“As a result of human actions, the structure and functioning of the world's ecosystems changed more rapidly in the second half of the twentieth century than at any other time in human history,” the report notes, with the result that approximately 60% of the elements of the global ecosystem that are necessary to support life (such as clean air and water) are being degraded or used unsustainably.