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Environmental Health Science

What it's all about

Environmental Health Studies is a field of science that studies how the environment influences human health and disease. "Environment" in this context means identifying and addressing how the environment impacts human health and natural resources.

People with an education in environmental health may do research on a variety of topics including environmental contaminants (e.g., chemical, biological, nuclear agents), communicable disease outbreaks, disease prevention, human health and environmental impacts of catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina and more.

Environmental health professionals are best known for their efforts to ensure safe water, food and air quality, and sanitary conditions. The need for more people in this area comes from an increase in environmental health threats.

Environmental health professionals also include those who monitor air and water quality and noise pollution, control for toxic substances and pesticides, conduct restaurant inspections and promote healthy land use and housing in developed and developing countries.

You might take classes such as:

• Air, Food and Water Quality
• Environmental Law
• Toxicology
• Environmental Analysis
• Human Health Risk Assessment

Graduates of this major go on to:

• assess air and water quality, and noise pollution
• teach in high schools or universities
• serve as first responders in the event of emergencies such as chemical spills
• work in the corporate world in health safety communications or informatics
• work with government or nonprofit agencies in areas such as bioterrorism or biodefense.