Environmental Health

"Many communities lack access to nutritious, affordable food; are denied safe places to walk and exercise; or live near polluting factories. The health risks for these families are greater. We support research and action to help ensure healthy environments for all."
--APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin

Environmental health is the branch of public health that: focuses on the relationships between people and their environment; promotes human health and well-being; and fosters healthy and safe communities. Environmental health is a key part of any comprehensive public health system. The field works to advance policies and programs to reduce chemical and other environmental exposures in air, water, soil and food to protect people and provide communities with healthier environments.

description of APHA environmental health work

We work with partners and members, including APHA's Environment Section, to make sure all communities have access to healthy environments. We also emphasize the importance of environmental justice and equity

"At WE ACT for Environmental Justice, we work to ensure that people of color and/or low-income have a seat at the table and engage with various stakeholders who do research, draft policies, organize, and make decisions that directly impact their health and the environment in which they live."
--WE ACT for Environmental Justice Environmental Health Coordinator David Chang

Emergencies such as the Zika virus outbreak, Flint, Michigan drinking water crisis and Hurricane Katrina show the impact environmental health issues can have on vulnerable populations. Pregnant women and their fetuses are most vulnerable to Zika. Those living in under-resourced neighborhoods were most exposed to lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint. And many low-income households have been unable to recover several years after Hurricane Katrina.

APHA brings national attention to environmental health issues and promote sound policy that protects the health, well-being and quality of life of the public in all communities across the country. To support environmental health work, we develop targeted educational messages that highlight the connection between healthy communities and healthy people.

Science-based policies and practices developed by APHA members are the foundation for our work in these focus areas:

CHILDREN'S ENVIRONMENTAL PUBLIC HEALTH (PDF)
CLIMATE CHANGE
ENVIRONMENTAL PUBLIC HEALTH TRACKING
EMPOWERING ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
HEALTHY COMMUNITY DESIGN
LEAD
PREVENTING CHEMICAL EXPOSURE
UNDERSTANDING ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
PARTNERS (Environmental Health Coalition, National Environmental Health Partnership Council, Tribal Public and Environmental Health Think Tank)

For more information about our environmental health work, contact Surili Patel

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