Environmental Health Profession
Environmental health practitioners may be known as sanitarians, public health inspectors, environmental health specialists, environmental health officers or environmental health practitioners. In many European countries, physicians and veterinarians are involved in environmental health. In the United Kingdom, practitioners must have a graduate degree in environmental health and be certified and registered with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. In Canada, practitioners in environmental health are required to obtain an approved bachelor's degree in environmental health along with the national professional certificate - the Certificate in Public Health Inspection (Canada). Many states in the United States also require that individuals have a bachelor's degree and professional licenses in order to practice environmental health. California state law defines the scope of practice of environmental health as follows:
- "Scope of practice in environmental health" means the practice of environmental health by registered environmental health specialists in the public and private sector within the meaning of this article and includes, but is not limited to, organization, management, education, enforcement, consultation, and emergency response for the purpose of prevention of environmental health hazards and the promotion and protection of the public health and the environment in the following areas: food protection; housing; institutional environmental health; land use; community noise control; recreational swimming areas and waters; electromagnetic radiation control; solid, liquid, and hazardous materials management; underground storage tank control; onsite septic systems; vector control; drinking water quality; water sanitation; emergency preparedness; and milk and dairy sanitation pursuant to Section 33113 of the Food and Agricultural Code.
The environmental health profession had its modern-day roots in the sanitary and public health movement of the United Kingdom. This was epitomized by Sir Edwin Chadwick, who was instrumental in the repeal of the poor laws and was the founding president of the Association of Public Sanitary Inspectors in 1884, which today is the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
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