What is Environmental Health
Environmental health is a public health specialty field that is concerned with all aspects of the natural and built environment that may affect human and animal health.
Environmental health practitioners are on the front lines in the battle to prevent and control disease and injury caused by environmental conditions. Most work as inspectors and detectives who assess and ensure safe water, food, and air quality, and sanitary conditions, assess solutions for preventing and controlling hazards, supervise toxic waste remediation, prevent and investigate disease outbreaks, including those caused by infectious and toxic agents, natural disasters and bioterrorism, and develop environmental policies for sustainable societies.
Environmental health is a growing field with excellent job prospects. Employment for professionals in this field is projected to grow 11% from 2014 to 2024 in the U.S. and is faster than the average for all occupations combined.
The increasing need for professionals in this public health field come from increasing environmental health threats, including global warming and climate change, around the planet such as:
- The effects of poor air quality on cardiovascular and respiratory diseases
- Deadly outbreaks caused by food contaminated with E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria
- Diseases spread through unsafe drinking water
- Cancer-causing chemicals, toxins, and other agents
- Outbreaks of Ebola virus, bird flu, influenza, TB, rabies
- Bioterrorism, natural disasters, and manmade catastrophes
- West Nile virus, Zika virus, dengue malaria, leishmaniasis, and other vector-borne diseases
- Beneficial contributions of natural environments and green spaces to human health and well-being