Many people often think of environmental health in terms of clean air and water, but natural environmental forces—including things like global warming—are only one piece of a greater puzzle.

    Environmental health is the public health field that monitors and addresses those physical, chemical, and biological factors that we might not have direct control over, but can impact our health anyway. For example, if you live in a neighborhood with unsafe sidewalks or polluted air, it’s difficult to get outside and exercise. Similarly, what your home was built with, what insects live nearby, and what food you have access to all can affect your health and the health of your family.

  The health of animals, people and the environment is connected. The "One Health" approach is the collaborative effort of the human health, veterinary health and environmental health communities. Through this collaboration, USDA achieves optimal health outcomes for both animals and people.



Devoting Land to Crop

    Devoting land to crop production can diminish habitat for wildlife. Soil erosion, nutrient and pesticide runoff, and irrigation can pollute the air and water, degrade soil quality, and diminish water supplies. The degree of the environmental problems associated with agriculture varies widely across the country.

  • Soil quality, as compromised by wind and water erosion;
  • Water quality, as compromised by chemical/pesticide and nutrient runoff;
  • Air quality, as compromised by soil particulates, farm chemicals, and odor from livestock;
  • Wildlife habitat, as compromised by fragmentation, monoculture (which reduces landscape diversity), and diverting water for irrigation; and
  • Wetlands, as compromised by conversion to cropland



Web Resources

    AUBURN University
    University of Washington School of Public Health
    Montana State University
    University of Rochester Medical Center
    The University of Arizona-Health Sciences Library
    OSU Extension Catalog


Oregon State University


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