Congratulations President-Elect Trump
On behalf of the members of the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), please accept our sincerest congratulations on your success in the recent election.
NEHA is looking forward to working with you and your administration as you develop your environmental health agenda and platform. NEHA represents environmental health professionals around the country that ensure the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the homes we live in are safe.
This guide is being provided to you so you can see from the perspective of the environmental health profession what is most important and why.
The Value of Environmental Health
Environmental Health is profoundly local. Many of today’s critical health issues are best managed at the local level. Primary prevention should always be our first course of action.
Environmental health professionals are the most abundant public health profession in the country. Anywhere that human health and the environment intersect, you will find environmental health professionals working to keep people and the communities healthy. Many environmental health programs do not reside in a state or local health department, and are administered independently. The unifying factor for many of these individuals is a national credential such as NEHA’s REHS/RS that identifies them as uniquely qualified as verified by an impartial, third-party endorsement. Currently, only 28 states mandate an environmental health professional to be accredited.
Environmental health professionals are a much-needed asset in our country at a tribal, local, state, and federal level. It is a human right to have access to safe drinking water, clean air, lead poisoning prevention, climate change adaptation, and expect a healthy interaction with the very things environmental health professionals protect. No issues are more important to the communities in which we live and work than clean air, safe food, and potable water. Not only are environmental health professionals called upon for the safety of our air, food, and water, they manage other critical community functions such as emergency response, vector control, sewage sanitation, healthy housing, hazardous material handling and more.
As such, the following recommendations support the basic right to environmental health:
PREVENTION: Enable federal, state, local, and tribal governments to promote resilient, equitable, and healthy communities for all Americans, especially those who are most vulnerable and most at risk.
RESPONSE: Build and support the governmental environmental health system, by demanding all 50 states, rather than just 28, have a credentialing standard for the environmental health workforce so every American is safe within their communities.
REAL-LIFE SOLUTIONS: Strengthen the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Environmental Health program, fully funding initiatives that protect the environmental health workforce, environmental health protections and support the needs of environmental health professionals and this country’s communities by providing a credentialing standard and facilitating an open-data approach to dealing with disease outbreaks, risk assessments, and environmental exposures.