Environmental Health

Background

Clean Air Council's Environmental Health program strives to educate people on the link between human health and the environment.  One example of this link is that many household cleaning products contain toxic ingredients that have been linked to diseases such as asthma. Power plants, refineries, vehicle traffic, and some neighborhood businesses, like nail salons and dry-cleaners, also result in widespread environmental health risk in the form of air pollution. Similarly, insect and rodent infestations can trigger allergies and many pest control methods (i.e. pesticides) can be toxic. Each household, workplace, school, community, and city must confront their own unique environmental risk factors. To be successful the general public must have the knowledge as well as the means by which to improve the quality of their indoor and outdoor environments.  Currently, the Council's environmental health focus is on asthma outreach, children's environmental health, and informing health professionals about the impact air pollution has on their patients.   

History

The Council's Environmental Health program started out as its Children's Environmental Health campaign, which it established in 2002.  As part of that campaign, the Council produced fact sheets that explained how air pollution has a disproportionate impact on the health of developing children.  Since then the Council's Environmental Health program has grown to encompass those activities that have a clear, direct connection to people’s health. In 2007 the Council began educating residents of low income areas in Philadelphia about the connection between air pollution and asthma. Recently, the Council has been giving presentations to local health care providers in the Philadelphia area about environmental health so that they can better serve their patients.    

Goals

  • Improve children’s health through environmental initiatives.
  • Reduce rates of cardiovascular disease and asthma due to air pollution.
  • Educate families, patients and health care professional about environmental health, especially with regards to chronic disease management (i.e. asthma, cardiovascular disease).
  • Educate the public on the health consequences of climate change. 

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