About Environmental Health

Environmental Health considers the basic infrastructure on which all health is built and addresses emerging health risks that come with urban development within our environment. It assesses environmental hazards that adversely affect health. An environmental hazard is a substance, state or event that has the potential to threaten the health of the community. Hazards fall into three categories: Chemical; Physical and Biological such as: pesticides, microorganism, heavy metals, noise, and radiation. And can occur in our soil, water, air, food, waste, workplaces, homes, physical and built environments. On the North Coast there is a broad spectrum of environmental hazards that can cause acute and chronic health effects to members of the community.

The role of Environmental Health officers

The North Coast Public Health Unit (NCPHU) and local Council Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) work together with NSW Health’s Environmental Health Branch, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Office of Environment and Heritage to determine and assess risks of hazards and communicate that information to the public.

Some of the activities of Environmental Health Officers include:
  • Identification of Aboriginal Environmental Health hazards
  • Investigation of complaints and enquires
  • Monitoring of public water supplies
  • Environmental Health Education and Research
  • Policy Development
  • Air Quality
  • Waste Management
  • Advice on control of insects and pests
  • Assessment of contaminated sites
  • Recreational water
  • Skin penetration activities
  • Monitoring of Tobacco Advertising, the sale of Tobacco products to minors and adherence to Smoke Free Environment laws
  • Land Use & Development
  • Funeral Industries
  • Sewage Management
  • Effluent Re-use

Environmental Health is a multi-disciplinary field requiring collaboration from stakeholders working in areas such as health, environmental protection, social sciences, applied sciences, engineering, land use planning and economics.

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