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Research on environmental and health

research on environmental and health Eliminating elevated blood lead levels in children remains a goal of utmost importance to public health. The sample sizes available with the currently structured NHANES are too small to produce statistically reliable estimates and preclude the ability to have a viable target for HP2020 (see Objective 8.1). Efforts must and will continue to reduce blood lead levels and to monitor the prevalence of children with elevated blood lead levels.


1World Health Organization (WHO). Preventing disease through healthy environments. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO; 2006.

2US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. Our Nation's air: Status and trends through 2008. Washington: EPA; 2010.

3Patz J, Campbell-Lendrum D, Holloway T, et al. Impact of regional climate change on human health. Nature. 2005 Nov 17;438(7066):310-7.

4Kinney PL. Climate change, air quality, and human health.

The Built Environment
Features of the built environment appear to impact human health-influencing behaviors, physical activity patterns, social networks, and access to resources.6

Exposure to Unknown Hazards
Finally, every year, hundreds of new chemicals are introduced to the U.S. market. It is presumed that some of these chemicals may present new, unexpected challenges to human health, and, therefore, their safety should be evaluated prior to release.

These cross-cutting issues are not yet understood well enough to inform the development of systems for measuring and tracking their impact. Further exploration is warranted. The environmental health landscape will continue to evolve and may present opportunities for additional research, analysis, and monitoring.

Blood Lead Levels
The number of children with elevated blood lead levels in the U.

Personnel, surveillance systems, and education are important resources for investigating and responding to disease, monitoring for hazards, and educating the public. Additional methods and greater capacity to measure and respond to environmental hazards are needed.

Global Environmental Health
Water quality is an important global challenge. Diseases can be reduced by improving water quality and sanitation and increasing access to adequate water and sanitation facilities.

Emerging Issues in Environmental Health

Environmental health is a dynamic and evolving field. While not all complex environmental issues can be predicted, some known emerging issues in the field include:

Climate Change
Climate change is projected to impact sea level, patterns of infectious disease, air quality, and the severity of natural disasters such as floods, droughts, and storms.3, 4

Disaster Preparedness
Preparedness for the environmental impact of natural disasters as well as disasters of human origin includes planning for human health needs and the impact on public infrastructure, such as water and roadways.

Environmental Agents

These topics are chemicals or factors in the environment to which humans are exposed that may cause adverse health effects.

Environmental Science Basics

These topics explain areas of study, research approaches, and biological processes that are integral to environmental health sciences.

Population Research

These topics are areas of research on populations who may be particularly exposed or susceptible to the effects of environmental exposures.

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Our environment affects our health. If parts of the environment, like the air, water, or soil become polluted, it can lead to health problems. For example, asthma pollutants and chemicals in the air or in the home can trigger asthma attacks.

Some environmental risks are a part of the natural world, like radon in the soil. Others are the result of human activities, like lead poisoning from paint, or exposure to asbestos or mercury from mining or industrial use.

NIH: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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  • Environmental Health Topics from A to Z From the National Institutes of Health(National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) Also in Spanish
  • Tox Town From the National Institutes of Health(National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • Bisphenol A (BPA) From the National Institutes of Health(National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)
  • TOXMAP From the National Institutes of Health(National Library of Medicine) - Create maps showing locations of toxic chemical releases


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