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What is Environmental & Occupational Health?

Health and safety where we live, learn, work and play

The Department of Environmental and Occupational Health in the Colorado School of Public Health focuses on preventing environmental and occupational health related disease and promoting health through our education, research and professional and community service. Our programs prepare students to contemplate the causes and consequences of chemical contamination and poorly designed environments on human health and the ways in which public health professionals can intervene to improve the environment whether at home, in the workplace or in the broader community.

From air pollution and hazardous waste to risk assessment and injury prevention to policy and healthy community design, the Department offers courses and curriculum to meet students' diverse environmental and occupational interests.

Environmental health studies the impact of our surroundings, both natural and built, on our health.  Environmental health specialists are concerned with the air we breathe, the water we drink, the noise we hear and the chemicals we’re exposed to, and the associated health effects.  In developed countries, healthier environments could significantly reduce the incidence of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, respiratory diseases, musculoskeletal diseases and poisonings.

Occupational health studies all aspects of health and safety in the workplace. From chronic beryllium disease and radiation exposure to workplace violence and musculoskeletal injuries, occupational hazards create an enormous and unnecessary health burden, suffering, and economic loss in the workplace.  Occupational health specialists work to prevent, treat and control health risks in the workplace.

Environmental & Occupational Health Areas:
  • Outdoor and Indoor Air Pollution 
  • Built Environment
  • Health Impacts of Climate Change
  • Food Systems
  • Safety and Ergonomics
  • Exposure Assessment
  • Environmental & Occupational Policy and Law
  • Environmental & Occupational Toxicology
  • Hazardous Waste Management
  • Industrial Hygiene
  • Noise Control
  • Occupational Health Psychology
  • Oil and Gas Development 
  • Public Health Emergency Preparedness
  • Risk Assessment
  • Water Quality
  • Worker Health and Wellness
As an environmental and occupational health student you'll learn to:
  • Characterize the human health effects of major environmental and occupational hazards.
  • Analyze sources, pathways and routes of exposure to environmental and occupational hazards and determine the populations with a high risk of exposure.
  • Prevent and control environmental and occupational hazards and recommend and/or design appropriate interventions.
  • Synthesize policy and practice to help solve environmental and occupational health problems.
  • Utilize participatory strategies to address the unequal distribution of hazards in the environment and advocate for justice and for a clean and healthy environment where people work, live and play.

Learn about careers in Environmental and Occupational Health here.


Colorado School of Public Health

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Mail Stop B119
Aurora, CO 80045


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