Environmental health professionals generally help to ensure the overall public health by identifying and working to fix environmental risk factors. Some environmental health careers focus on the quality of the air, water and food, while other types of careers focus on conducting safe chemicals waste procedures. Still others are dedicated to reducing noise pollution in areas with dense populations.
Regional, national, and city health agencies may employ an environmental health professional to monitor water systems, register air pollution, or even conduct restaurant inspections to ensure food safety. A drinking and ground water specialist, for example, may test reservoirs, lakes, and aquifers to ensure the water people drink is safe. Testing may include taking samples of the water, the earth surrounding it, or the creatures which live in or around the water source and examining them for contamination. Meanwhile, an air pollution specialist may measure levels of emissions and test ambient air quality to ensure the air is as safe as possible and that companies which produce pollution are within official guidelines. Environmental health careers may offer the opportunity to work with many types of agencies doing many different tasks.
Proper chemical waste procedures are generally important for keeping the entire environment and individuals healthy. Hazardous waste specialists help to ensure companies which deal in and produce these waste materials practice safe removal of those chemicals. Some substances are regulated by the US federal government and can be tracked from their creation to their disposal. A toxicologist examines toxic materials in the environment and their effects and may attempt to find new ways to lessen that impact.
Noise pollution is an important part of human health, because experts say too much has been proven to increase stress and insomnia levels and produce other health problems. A specialist in noise pollution studies these effects and may instruct companies in new ways of conducting business. Individuals in these roles may even build noise buffers to prevent a large amount of industrial noise from mingling with city sounds.
Those aspiring to environmental health careers generally require a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from an accredited program. A four-year education and training program can focus extensively on the skills and knowledge necessary to become a successful environmental health professional. The demand in this industry is almost always high, so opportunities in various environmental health careers are generally available.