Linking Ecohealth and One Health approaches. A Case Study on the EU Water Framework Directive Strategy About Alkylphenols in Aquatic Ecosystems
In this work the application of One Health and EcoHealth approaches have been investigated through a case study that links the application of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the presence of alkylphenols in the river Tiber basin. The WFD has the aim to protect and restore all waterbodies in Europe in order to safeguard human health and the environment and it is based on an ecosystem approach, EcoHealth oriented, that integrates several lines of evidence for the assessment and classification of surface water bodies. Alkylphenols are dangerous chemical substances that are derived from different anthropic sources and are widely present in surface waterbodies; among these substances, Nonylphenols have been classified by the WFD as priority hazardous substances for their properties of toxicity, persistence and bioaccumulation. Nonylphenols raise concern in particular for their endocrine-disrupting effects concerning both human health and aquatic living organisms. In the urban part of the river Tiber several sources of pollution that can release nonylphenols are present and these substances have been detected in biota species such as eel that are key organisms of the aquatic trophic chain of the river Tiber; nonylphenols have been also detected in the suspended matter due to their environmental fate. This case study indicates that the One Health approach should be more connected to the evaluation and knowledge of ecosystems; through an EcoHealth approach it should be possible to detect, at an early stage, the deterioration of the health of the ecosystem, including humans, and therefore to activate actions aimed at recovery while it is still possible to reverse the damage at a reasonable cost.