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Department of Environmental Health

College of Public Health

What is Environmental Health?

Environmental health (EH) is a branch of public health protection that is concerned with all aspects of the natural and built environment that may affect human health. Other terms that refer to the discipline of environmental health include environmental public health and environmental health and protection.

EH is a field of science that studies how the environment influences human health and disease. "Environment" in this context means identifying and addressing how the environment impacts human health.

EH is a very diverse field where professionals perform a variety of tasks such as research, investigations, outreach and education, environmental cleanups and more.

EH professionals are best known for their efforts to ensure the safety of what we eat, breathe, touch and drink. EH professionals are the individuals who monitor air quality, water and noise pollution, toxic substances and pesticides, conduct restaurant inspections, carry out vector control and promote healthy land use and housing. EH professionals also perform research on a variety of topics including environmental toxins, communicable disease outbreaks, human health impacts of environmental catastrophes such as hurricanes and more The increase in environmental health threats such as bed bug infestations, tainted food outbreaks such as Escherichia coli, failing waste water systems, West Nile virus, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), bio/agro-terrorism (intentional tainting of food) and the human health impacts of terrorist attacks and environmental catastrophes, demonstrate the need for more trained professionals in the field of environmental health.

Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs

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