The NIEHS mission is to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives. It is, therefore, a core value of the institute to preserve and protect the environment. As we advance scientific understanding regarding the fundamental interrelationship between human health and the environment, we will proactively demonstrate our commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development.

Through implementation of this policy, NIEHS will serve as a leader by advancing environmental stewardship within our own programs and facilities, and in the broader community. Accordingly, NIEHS will:

  • Continually improve our environmental performance.
  • Develop and maintain environmental management programs with objectives and targets to minimize adverse environmental impacts.
  • Comply with all applicable environmental, health, and safety laws, regulations, and other requirements.
  • Implement effective pollution prevention and waste minimization programs to reduce, reuse, and recycle materials.
  • Ensure that energy and water are used responsibly and conserved through innovative practices and procedures.
  • Provide all institute staff with the knowledge and tools needed to meet the goals of this policy and to actively participate in efforts to prevent negative environmental impacts.
  • Measure progress toward our environmental goals.

The Office of Management, Health and Safety Branch, in coordination with the NIH Office of Research Facilities (ORF), shall be responsible for administering and monitoring this policy through implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS). This policy will serve as the framework for setting and reviewing the lnstitute's environmental goals, objectives, and targets. The NIEHS EMS Work Group will coordinate an annual review of this policy and develop recommendations for improvements and updates as needed. Changes to this policy will be communicated to all employees and other staff working on behalf of the institute.

Guiding Principles for NIEHS Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

NIEHS will promote environmental stewardship and human well-being in all aspects of its operations. The Institute will partner with the Office of Research Facilities, other NIH offices and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ensure integrity and drive continuous improvement. To fulfill the lnstitute's Environmental Policy, as implemented through the NIEHS Environmental Management System, we will be guided by the following principles:

  1. Compliance with Environmental Requirements – NIEHS will comply with all applicable Federal, state and local environmental laws, statutes, regulations and other environmental requirements. When environmental quality improvements are feasible, we will establish and maintain our own standards that exceed existing laws and regulations.
  2. Healthy Built Environment – NIEHS will promote public health, workforce wellness, and quality of work-life by integrating the development of buildings and grounds with the natural environment and by promoting indoor environmental quality.
  3. Environmentally Responsible Facilities Operations – NIEHS will assess environmental implications in the design, construction and operation of campus infrastructure grounds and buildings. To the extent practical, facilities development and maintenance will promote environmental sustainability through resource conservation, ecologically-sound landscaping practices, sustainable building design and operation, and transportation that minimizes environmental impact.
  4. Pollution Prevention – NIEHS will minimize solid waste generation and the potential release of pollutants into the environment first through source reduction, secondarily through reuse and recycling, and finally through treatment and disposal.
  5. Minimize Hazardous Waste and Toxic Materials – NIEHS will minimize the generation of hazardous wastes. The institute will maintain policies and processes for the safe and efficient use, tracking, storage and disposal of hazardous and toxic materials.
  6. Environmentally Responsible Acquisition – NIEHS will promote environmental responsibility through its contracting and purchasing choices. When purchasing products and services, the institute will strive to obtain the best value by considering life cycle environmental impacts along with cost and functional performance.
  7. Conservation of Energy, Water and Other Resources – NIEHS will reduce resource consumption by eliminating wasteful practices and promoting efficient use, and by evaluating and implementing feasible and practical conservation measures in existing buildings, renovations, and new construction.
  8. Green Technology – NIEHS will recognize the significant impacts of computing, communication, refrigeration and other technologies on human health and the environment. The institute will actively promote the efficient and sustainable use of technology.
  9. Environmental Education and Awareness – NIEHS will provide ongoing education for all employees, contractors and visitors concerning the importance of environmental responsibility in all institute operations. Further, the institute will share relevant and accurate information on its environmental performance with the public.

Rick Woychik, Ph.D.
Director, NIEHS and NTP
January 14, 2020