Select Page
When some people hear environmental health, they might equate the term “environmental” with outdoors, and if the outdoor areas where they live appear clean and attractive, they may consider their environment healthy. The entity in a community that ensures that the environment is safe is the usually the local Environmental Health Department. However, environmental health addresses a wide range of issues that some people never consider. Local and state health departments employ individuals who specialize in environmental health.

Clean water

If you always get clean water from your faucet, you benefit from environmental health. When the public reports a problem with the water supply, most likely an environmental health specialist will investigate. If the issue puts the public at risk for illness, residents will receive instructions regarding what to do if the water is unsafe to drink. Most of the time you don’t need to worry about safe water for cooking, bathing, or drinking, thanks to environmental health professionals who monitor water safety and ensure that exposure to contaminated water is not the norm.

Safe food

Families in the U.S. spend about half of their food dollars on meals prepared away from home. Research shows that millennials spend about 44 percent of their food budget for meals prepared away from home. This points to the need for food that is safe to eat. Foodborne illness, caused by unsafe food handling practices makes about 48 million people sick every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Around 128,000 are hospitalized and 3000 people die. Preventing foodborne illness is serious business, but because of environmental health professionals, our food system is one of the safest in the world. These individuals inspect food service operations, respond to complaints, train food service workers, and work hard to minimize the impact of foodborne illness outbreaks.

Vector-borne diseases

The term vector refers to an insect that transmits diseases. Ticks and mosquitoes are examples of vectors that can transmit deadly diseases by biting humans. When there is an uptick in the incidence of vector-borne infections, environmental health professionals work hard to quell the problem. Preventive health messages, spraying for mosquitoes in certain areas, and enforcing cleanup of places where vectors breed are all steps environmental health specialists take to help the public avoid exposure to vector-borne diseases.