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.

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Program on Climate and Health

Launched in January 2020, the Program in Climate and Health has the broad goal of fostering a diverse and vibrant community of researchers passionate about informing and minimizing the impacts of continued climate change on the health of people and communities. The Program is led by Dr. Gregory Wellenius.

Visit the official Program on Climate and Health website

Recent Research in Environmental Health

Latest Publications

  • Published On 11/10/2021Community predictors of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Massachusetts: Evaluating changes over time using geospatially refined dataInfluenza Other Respir Virusesread at Custom
  • Published On 11/8/2021Multiple metals in children''s deciduous teeth: results from a community-initiated pilot study.Journal of exposure science & environmental epidemiologyread at PubMed
  • Published On 11/1/2021Asthma Exacerbations Attributable to Ozone Air Pollution in New England.Rhode Island medical journal (2013)read at PubMed
  • Published On 10/25/2021Urban heat: an increasing threat to global health.BMJ (Clinical research ed.)read at PubMed
  • Published On 10/20/2021The 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: code red for a healthy future.Lancet (London, England)read at PubMed