Environmental Health and Its Evolution

Topics: Public health, Environmental health, Epidemiology Pages: 3 (692 words) Published: August 15, 2012
Environmental health and its evolution
Environmental health has evolved as a dynamic arm of public health, encompassing a range of external factors that could be of harm to human life. Its importance stems from the central role it plays in infection prevention and management. Currently, environmental health’s areas of concerns go beyond mere water and air pollution as it was previously perceived. Technology and modern living has made the issue of environmental health more complex, forcing it to put into consideration extreme aspects such as air quality, recreation water sources and facility permitting, lead toxicity, chemical waste management and issues of environmental health justice (Lafronza, 2003). Today, environmental health is a widely recognized science, which is being used to inform various sectors of the economy while redefining human health and safety. This article will retrace evolution of environmental health and examine it as a discipline.

Environmental science as a discipline emerged in the late 20th century following the realization that human factors and activities were increasingly posing harm to humans and animals alike (Lafronza, 2003). Well before this, a few regulations were in place though widely lacking in organization (Novick, Morrow & Mays, 2008). Aspects such as sewage disposal, water and food protection and disease control were therefore still disarray, resulting to numerous deaths from water and food-borne diseases as possible hazards were hardly addressed. Increasing environmental health- related accidents therefore prompted establishment of environmental protection agency in 1970, and mandating it to institute environment protection and conservation mechanisms in promotion of human health and overall wellbeing of the environment (Lafronza, 2003). More complex concepts such as occupational health, chemical safety and pathogen control were introduced under this framework, most of which have grown into modern day trends and areas of...

References: Friis, R. (2011). Essentials of environmental health. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Kelley, T. (2009). Insights into the evolution of environmental health. Environmental Health Insights, 3:11-12
Lafronza, V. (2003). The evolution of environmental health from antiquity to the present. Retrieved from National Association of County and City Health Officials website http://www.naccho.org/general34.cfm
Novick, L.F., Morrow, C. B. & Mays, G. P. (2008). Public health administration: principles for population-based management. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers
Pekkanen, J. & Pierce, N. (2001). Environmental epidemiology; challenges and opportunities. Environ Health Perspectives, 109:1-5
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