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Your Environment. Your Health.

Environmental Science Basics

These topics explain areas of study, research approaches, and biological processes that are integral to environmental health sciences.

  • Alternatives to Animal Testing

    Learn about alternatives to animal testing, U.S. laws that require alternative consideration, and what NIEHS does to support alternative methods

  • Biomarkers

    Biomarkers are key molecular or cellular events that link a specific environmental exposure to a health outcome. Biomarkers play an important role in understanding the relationships between exposure to environmental chemicals, the development of chronic human diseases, and the identification of subgroups that are at increased risk for disease.

  • Epigenetics

    For decades, scientists have known the basic structure of our DNA, the building blocks that make up our genes. Epigenetics is a rapidly growing area of science that focuses on the processes that help direct when individual genes are turned on or off.

  • Gene-Environment Interaction

    Nearly all diseases result from a complex interaction between an individual’s genetic make-up and the environmental agents that he or she is exposed to.

  • Toxicology

    Toxicology is a field of science that helps us understand the harmful effects that chemicals, substances, or situations, can have on people, animals, and the environment. Some refer to toxicology as the “Science of Safety” because as a field it has evolved from a science focused on studying poisons and adverse effects of chemical exposures, to a science devoted to studying safety.

Environmental Health Links

  • Concerned Citizens - US EPA site geared towards citizens who want to become familiar with environmental issues and the potential environmental and human health risks caused by pollution. Covers important emergency phone numbers, health and safety issues at work, protecting children at home and a community’s right to know about environmental exposures.
  • Enviro-Health Links - A portal to selected links to Internet resources on toxicology and environmental health issues of recent special interest; e.g., oil spills, nanotechnology, environmental justice, pollution, toxicogenomics, et al.
  • MyEnvironment - US EPA site that allows a user to enter geographic information (zip code, city or state) and find federal, state and local information about environmental conditions and features in that area. The information is based on a review of published scientific research in environmental medicine and toxicology.
  • National Center for Environmental Health - The latest research accomplishments and findings from the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health.
  • Protect the Environment: Report Spills and Environmental Violations - Learn whom to notify and how to be prepared in case of an environmental emergency, such as a chemical or oil spill.
  • Tox21: Understanding the Potential Health Risks of Chemicals (442KB) - Tox21 is a unique collaboration between several federal agencies to research and test chemicals in a new way.
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