As part of the NIEHS 50th Anniversary commemoration, the institute established a time capsule to create a permanent collection of NIEHS history – its research and its culture--to share with future staff and science historians.
On November 1, 1966, the NIH began a research program specifically devoted to understanding how the environment influences human health. That small, but important program grew into the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The original 1966 mission statement was nothing short of visionary for its time. The statement read, "Its program will be directed to a better understanding of the complex, interrelated phenomena underlying the human body's reaction to the increasingly wide range of chemical, physical, biological, and social environmental influences imposed by modern living, with the objective of developing the knowledge necessary for devising effective measures to protect man from environmental factors found to be harmful."
Now, the NIEHS mission statement simply reads "to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives," but NIEHS programs continue to support a broad range of basic, clinical, and public health research on topics as diverse as the many components of our environment.
Our 50th Anniversary has been a great opportunity to identify historic artifacts that tell the story of NIEHS. More than 50 nominations were received. The 50th Anniversary Committee collected, cataloged, and prepared each item for the 25-year storage.
Here is a full list (192KB) of items preserved in the time capsule.