‘First do no harm’ is the foundation stone of health-care providers. But what if, in the provision of that health care, you are inadvertently creating the sort of environmental pollution and problems that can actually be detrimental to health?

Iatrogenesis – from the Greek, meaning ‘brought forth by the healer’ – is the term used to describe the negative outcome inadvertently caused by any treatment designed to heal a patient. What has become increasingly clear is that iatrogenesis can (and usually does) extend beyond the individual patient to whole populations, at the place of origin and elsewhere.

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