Environmental Health

It affects us all.

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 conducted policy-relevant research, often working closely with affected communities, to help address environmental challenges. Academically, our students prepare to meet the challenges of environmental health through a solid grounding in epidemiology, exposure science, toxicology, risk assessment and related fields, as well as training in legal and economic topics relevant to environmental and public health.

Our work addresses the health effects of exposures to complex mixtures of chemicals, including chemicals contained in consumer products as well as contaminants of water, food, and soil such as lead or mercury. We evaluate the health effects of air pollution, including connections with global climate change. We are also interested in the adverse effects of non-chemical hazards such as noise, heat, and social stressors, and how different kinds of chemical and non-chemical 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 includes two centers: one that addresses the mechanisms of action and consequences to health of exposure to chemicals found at Superfund sites and the other that addresses environmental health disparities in low-income communities and throughout Massachusetts.

Academic Programs

The Department of Environmental Health faculty and staff participate in interdisciplinary master’s and doctoral degrees. We lead multiple certificates within the Master of Public Health (MPH), offer the Master of Science (MS) in Environmental Health Data Analytics, co-direct the MS in Public Health Nutrition, and offer the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Health.