Why do researchers attempt to understand connections between the environment and health? Prevention. The more that is known about the health consequences of an environmental hazard, the better the protection that can be developed for public health through policies, education, and community outreach programs.
For example, the state of Maine found that almost every case of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in the state was associated with not having a CO detector. This data led to new legislation requiring CO detectors in all rental units, in single family homes when there is an addition or renovation, and whenever a property is sold.
Also, knowing that the elderly are among the most vulnerable to heat illness during heat waves has led to community outreach programs nationwide that educate citizens about the importance of checking on elderly family and neighbors during an extreme heat event.
Additionally, to prevent childhood lead poisoning, health departments and advocacy groups promote tips like: only drink cold water from the tap, practice safe remodeling processes to remove lead paint, and advise getting your children’s blood tested if you think they’ve been exposed.