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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 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.

The division has four programs: chemical weapons elimination, environmental health services, childhood lead poisoning prevention, and cruise ship (vessel) sanitation. Healthy community design is no longer a funded program.

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.

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 practice-based research, training, tools and guidance for environmental health practitioners and programs serving states, tribes, localities, and territories. Explore the program’s resources on

  • Food Safety - Preventing foodborne illnesses and outbreaks;
  • Safe Water - Keeping water safe, particularly recreational water and private wells; and
  • Performance Improvement - Improving the performance of environmental health programs.

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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