Environmental Risks

CHE follows scientific research on any health concern linked to environmental contributors: everything besides hereditary factors that can impact health. We have been led by the science to embrace an ecological or systems model of health that recognizes the interplay of multiple contributors that can lead to good health or to chronic disease across the lifespan and across the globe. We include emerging research not only on hazardous chemicals, but on many other interacting factors that can also impact human health, such as the nutritional, built and socioeconomic environments.

We include social determinants of health under this umbrella because poverty and other social stressors — along with chemical exposures and other factors — are all part of the environment in which we are born, grow and live. Social impacts on health are embedded in the broader environment in which we live.

CHE started with and continues to privilege research and related policy implications involving chemical contaminants associated with various health problems. This is because exposures to toxic chemicals are often overlooked when decision makers examine and prioritize actions to address upstream drivers of health.

Research and Resources

On these pages you will find a research-based overview of each topic, plus links to CHE webinars and conference calls and publications, newsfeed items, and relevant materials on this site and elsewhere. Our aim is not to be comprehensive but to exemplify various slices of a systems model and to show how different environmental contributors interact in complex ways to impact our health. This information can serve as a springboard for further exploration, with links to entities with greater expertise on these topics.

Chemical Environment

Food and Agriculture Environment

Built Environment

Socioeconomic Environment

Psychosocial Environment

Global Environment


Our 2011 Toxicant and Disease Database summarizes the state of evidence about links between dozens of diseases and hundreds of toxicants, including many not listed here.

* header image from SEIU Local 99 Education Workers United at Creative Commons.