|Environmental Health Workforce Shortage Puts the Health of People and the Environment at Risk
Environmental Health (EH) professionals are the individuals who monitor air quality, water and noise pollution, toxic substances and pesticides, conduct restaurant inspections, carry out vector control and promote healthy land use and housing and more. EH professionals also perform research on a variety of topics including environmental toxins, communicable disease outbreaks, and human health impacts of environmental catastrophes such as hurricanes. They are best known for their efforts to ensure safe food, water, air quality and sanitary conditions.EH professionals address a growing number of environmental health threats including bed bug infestations, tainted food outbreaks such as Escherichia coli, failing waste water systems, West Nile virus, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), bio/agro-terrorism (intentional tainting of food) and the human health impacts of terrorist attacks and environmental catastrophes. The growing number of environmental health threats, call for an increase in the number of trained environmental health professionals entering the workforce.
|Environmental health professionals are often the first responders in the event of an emergency, yet environmental health agencies are unfortunately facing shortages of these critical personnel, and have been concerned for more many years.
Environmental Health (EH) practitioners represent up to a quarter of the local public health workforce yet an estimated 40%–50% of the EH workforce in state and local agencies are eligible to retire in the next five years, leaving major workforce gaps.