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Emergency and Environmental Health Services: Improving the Practice of Environmental Health

Learn how CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health/Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services (EEHS) advances environmental public health practice and emergency preparedness and response efforts to better serve and protect the health of all people in the United States.

EEHS has five programs: chemical weapons elimination, environmental health services, healthy community design, childhood lead poisoning prevention, and cruise ship (vessel) sanitation.

Chemical Weapons Elimination

Protects public health and safety by reviewing, advising, and making recommendations on the safe disposal and transportation of stockpile and nonstockpile chemical warfare agents and providing technical guidance for issues involving highly hazardous chemicals. The Chemical Weapons Elimination team emphasizes prevention with vigilance.

Under the program’s independent oversight for more than 40 years, the U.S. Army has destroyed chemical warfare agents at seven of the nine U.S. disposal facility sites. Facilities are under construction to destroy chemical warfare agents at the two remaining sites: Blue Grass, Kentucky; and Pueblo, Colorado.

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

Tracks and prevents childhood lead poisoning and other adverse health conditions related to the home environment.

The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program provides

  • Lead surveillance. Surveillance data are used by CDC, health departments, and other agencies to target limited resources to the highest risk children and to track incidence and risk factors.
  • Technical expertise. Provides guidance and assistance (when possible) for determining lead exposure and recommended response.

Environmental Health Services

Provides surveillance, practice-based research, evidence-based practice, training, and technical assistance for state, tribal, local, and territorial environmental health practitioners. Practitioners use these tools to prevent environmental exposures and protect health.

The Environmental Health Services Branch

  • Works with state and local health departments to identify and address environmental causes of foodborne and waterborne illness outbreaks via traditional and innovative training and resources to support environmental health practitioners at all levels.

Healthy Community Design

Helps public health, transportation, and land-use professionals create environments that prevent disease and injury by providing people convenient and safe opportunities to walk, bicycle, or use public transit.

The Healthy Community Design Initiative works to

  • Link public health surveillance with community design decisions;
  • Improve community design decisions through tools such as health impact assessment;
  • Educate decision makers on the health impact of community design;
  • Build partnerships with community design decision makers and their influencers;
  • Conduct research to identify the links between health and community design; and
  • Translate research into best practices.

Vessel Sanitation

Assists the cruise ship industry to prevent and control the introduction, transmission, and spread of gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships. The Vessel Sanitation Program operates under the authority of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. Section 264 Quarantine and Inspection Regulations to Control Communicable Diseases).

The program

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