stethoscope on a graph paper

These topics are common diseases and conditions that evidence shows may be strongly linked to environmental exposures.

  • Asthma

    Asthma is a chronic lung disease. Common symptoms are wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. During an asthma attack, the sides of the airways in lungs swell and the airways shrink, making it harder to breathe.

  • Autism

    Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder, is a broad range of conditions that affect communication and behavior, usually appearing by age 2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that autism affects 1 in 36 children.

  • Autoimmune Diseases

    A healthy immune system defends the body against disease and infection. But if the immune system malfunctions, it mistakenly attacks healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Called autoimmune disease, these attacks can affect any part of the body, weakening bodily function and even turning life-threatening.

  • Breast Cancer

    Approximately 1 in 8 women in the U.S. develop breast cancer each year. Most women who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease, suggesting an environmental link.

  • Inflammation

    Inflammation is a normal part of the body’s defense to injury or infection, and, in this way, it is beneficial. But inflammation is damaging when it occurs in healthy tissues or lasts too long.

  • Kidney Disease

    An epidemic of chronic kidney disease has emerged that cannot be explained by traditional or known risk factors. Known as CKDu, this disease is a progressive and fatal loss of kidney function. It is found mostly among agricultural workers in hot, humid regions.

  • Lung Diseases

    Lung disease refers to several types of diseases or disorders that prevent the lungs from functioning properly. Lung disease can affect respiratory function, or the ability to breathe, and pulmonary function, which is how well lungs work.

  • Obesity

    Obesity is a chronic disease that affects more than 30% adults and about 17% of children and adolescents in the United States. Obesity results from a combination of genetic susceptibility, biological pathways related to metabolism and body weight regulation, and environmental factors.

  • Parkinson's Disease

    The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is one of the lead research agencies studying the environmental causes of Parkinson's disease | Parkinson's is a neurodegenerative disease thought to be caused by the interaction of genes and environment.

  • Reproductive Health

    Reproductive health refers to the condition of male and female reproductive systems during all life stages. These systems are made of organs and hormone-producing glands, including the pituitary gland in the brain. Ovaries in females and testicles in males are reproductive organs, or gonads, that maintain health of their respective systems. They also function as glands because they produce and release hormones.

Additional Topics


General Health

  • Health Finder - The Department of Health and Human Services gateway to Web sites on health and wellness, diseases and conditions, health issues for special groups, health care industry, etc.
  • MedlinePlus - A comprehensive resource for consumer health information on diseases and conditions. Includes dictionaries, databases, clearinghouses, organizations, directories of doctors and hospitals, publications and libraries.
  • National Health Information Center (NHIC) - NHIC provides a referral service, primarily through the National Health Resource Database. The database includes 1,800 organizations and government offices that provide health information upon request. Entries include contact information, short abstracts and information about publications and services the organizations provide.
  • NIH Health Information - A consumer health information portal organized by the National Institutes of Health. Health topics cover diseases, clinical trials and drugs.

Traveler’s Health

  • Travelers' Health - Get health information by destination, relevant vaccinations, outbreaks and common diseases; how to travel with children; and ensuring safe food and water.