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Emergency and Environmental Health Services

Safeguarding people's health from environmental threats

CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health/Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services (EEHS) provides national leadership in the development of environmental and emergency public health policy and prevention programs to improve public health practice nationwide.

EEHS provides consultation and technical and resource assistance, including training, to state and local health departments and to other agencies at the federal, state, local, and international levels.

The division also responds to national and international emergency and recovery assistance situations, especially after natural or technologic disasters, and provides technical support for public health activities during emergencies such as famines, disasters, and civil strife.

The division’s major activities are chemical weapons elimination, environmental health services, healthy community design, lead poisoning prevention/healthy homes, and vessel (cruise ship) sanitation. Brief information about these activities follows.

EEHS Activities

Chemical munitionsChemical Weapons Elimination
Ensures that the health and safety of workers and the general population are protected during the handling and destruction of the nation's chemical weapons. Reviews all chemical weapons elimination plans and works closely with the Department of Defense throughout the disposal process. Evaluates the on-site medical response capabilities to ensure that responders are prepared for any related emergencies.


Testing Samples Environmental Health Services
Provides technical assistance and scientific guidance to state, local, tribal, and other government agencies engaged in environmental health service programs; participates in disease outbreak investigations and identifies environmental antecedents contributing to outbreaks; and supports, through training and technical assistance, those environmental disciplines that have technology or information gaps in areas such as food safety and water and sanitation issues.

Greenway map Healthy Community Design
Promotes healthy community design. Provides technical assistance for health impact assessments (HIAs), which can be used to evaluate objectively the potential health effects of a project or policy before it is built or implemented. The HIA process brings public health issues to the attention of persons who make decisions about areas that fall outside of traditional public health arenas, such as transportation or land use. Reviews all Environmental Impact Assessments external to CDC.

Ceramics that may contain lead Lead Poisoning Prevention/ Healthy Homes
Leads national lead poisoning prevention efforts, with emphasis on childhood lead poisoning prevention, by working with other federal agencies to develop an integrated national childhood lead poisoning prevention program. Provides assistance to federal agencies, state and community health agencies, and others in developing and evaluating childhood lead poisoning prevention programs. Maintains a system for the collection and dissemination of data on lead poisoning, and conducts and evaluates epidemiologic research on childhood lead poisoning.

Family in front of home Promotes, develops, and implements cross-disciplinary activities at the federal, state, tribal, and community levels to address the problem of unhealthy and unsafe housing through surveillance, research, and comprehensive prevention programs. Builds capacity and competency among environmental public health practitioners, public health nurses, housing specialists, and others who work in the community to develop and manage comprehensive and effective healthy homes programs.


Cruise Ship Vessel Sanitation Program
Protects passenger and crew health by developing and implementing comprehensive sanitation programs to minimize the risk for gastrointestinal illnesses aboard cruise ships, inspects vessels to ensure compliance with the Vessel Sanitation Program 2011 Operations Manual, collects and monitors reports of gastointestinal illness on board passenger vessels to estimate illness among passengers and detect outbreaks, and provides technical assistance to international public health officials on public health issues related to vessel sanitation.

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  • Page last reviewed: August 7, 2009
  • Page last updated: June 26, 2012 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO