Worldwide, 13 million deaths could be prevented every year by making our environments safer. In children under the age of five, one third of all disease is caused by the environmental factors such as unsafe water and air pollution.
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 how these affect our health. In developed countries, healthier environments could significantly reduce the incidence of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, lower respiratory infections, musculoskeletal diseases, road traffic injuries, poisonings and drownings.
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.
Interventions that make environments and workplaces safer include: designing ergonomic tools, conducting health risk assessments; increasing the safety of buildings; promoting safe, using and storing toxic substances properly; monitoring indoor and outdoor air pollution; and managing water resources.
Because environmental and occupational health is broad, it is often separated into different areas in professional and academic settings.
Environmental & Occupational Health Topic Areas:
- Air Pollution
- Food Systems
- Exposure Assessment
- Environmental & Occupational Law
- Hazardous Waste Management
- Industrial Hygiene
- Noise Control
- Occupational Health Psychology
- Oil and Gas Development
- Water Quality
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 appropriate interventions.
- Identify ethical issues in environmental and occupational health policy and practice.
- Promote sustainable use of resources with concern for environmental justice.
Learn about careers in Environmental and Occupational Health here.