The air we breathe. The water we drink. The food we eat. All the things we come in contact with every day. Nothing is more intrinsic to health than our environment, with environmental exposures among the leading contributors to health problems. And while people are affected regardless of income and geography, environmental health risks especially threaten the most vulnerable among us.
For decades, the Department of Environmental Health has taken a community approach to dealing with these risks. Our research methods encourage community residents to help identify research goals and collect, analyze, and publish data. Academically, our students prepare to meet the challenges of environmental health through a solid grounding in epidemiologic and toxicologic research as well as training in legal and economic topics relevant to environmental and public health.
Our work focuses on the health effects of chemical exposures, including chemicals contained in consumer products as well as contaminants of water, food, and soil such as lead or mercury. We are also interested in the adverse effects of non-chemical hazards such as noise, heat, and social stressors, and how different kinds of hazardous exposures accumulate or interact to harm health. Vulnerable populations such as children and people living in poverty in the US and internationally are of special interest to us. The department has two centers: one that addresses the consequences to health of exposure to chemicals in Superfund sites and the other addressing complex exposures in urban poor populations.
The Department of Environmental Health faculty and staff participate in interdisciplinary master’s and doctoral degrees and offer the Master of Science (MS), and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Health.