Environmental Health is the branch of public health that is concerned with the health implications inherent in both the natural and built enviroments in which we operate every day. Experts in environmental health are concerned with air quality, food and waste sanitation, safe drinking water, disaster preparedness, and the effects of toxic substances on human beings, among other things. The three basic disciplines that comprise environmental health practice are environmental epidemiology, toxicology, and environmental exposure science.
Environmental health experts seek to discover and promote awareness of hazards both naturally occurring and those that occur as a result of where we live, where we work, and where our children play. They look not only to naturally occurring substances, but also those that may be introduced into our communities by way of products, chemicals, or byproducts of our way of life.
The term built environment encompasses those environments that are man-made. This can include homes, buildings, and vehicles, but can also include parks and outdoor areas. The natural environment, on the other hand, is simply that: natural. It includes all naturally occurring areas, species, and interactions therein.
The built environment is defined as the human-made features of our communities. The way we design and build our communities can affect our physical and mental health; in turn designing and building healthy communities can improve the quality of life for all people. (APHA)
CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Estimating illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths for various types of diseases is a common and important public health practice. (CDC)