To set the stage and give you a sense for the practice of environmental public health, watch this video from CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health about the work they do:
This video shows real-life examples of how research is conducted and applied to protect people’s health from environmental hazards.
There are many real-life examples of environmental health. One example that some of you may have seen is from the movie Erin Brockovich. She is a woman who brought attention to contaminated drinking water in a Southern California Town of Hinkley.
Between 1952 and 1966, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) used hexavalent chromium, a human carcinogen, in its cooling towers to fight corrosion. The wastewater dissolved the hexavalent chromium from the cooling towers and was discharged to unlined ponds at the site. Some of the wastewater percolated into the groundwater, affecting an area near the plant.
Erin Brockovich helped uncover the contamination and its suspected impact on cancer rates in the area. What she found out led to a record-breaking settlement for a group of class-action plaintiffs in 1996.