Welcome to PSR's Environmental Health Policy
Institute, where we ask questions -- then we ask the experts to
answer them. Join us as physicians, health professionals,
and environmental health experts share their ideas, inspiration, and
analysis about toxic chemicals and environmental health policy.
The Full "Costs" of Environmentally Related Disease
Kathy Attar, MPH
April 18, 2014
What do failed attempts at environmental protection cost us, in terms as wide-ranging as health impacts, lost wages, and loss of IQ? Who is most burdened by our lack of societal commitment to primary prevention?
This month’s Environmental Health Policy Institute examines these questions through the lens of important cases. One article highlights lead poisoning and its negative health, social and economic impacts on low-income communities of color. Another examines the cumulative exposures towns and cities face from toxic chemicals in their air and water, resulting from nearby industries' environmental pollution.
The Institute also challenges health professionals to increase their awareness of environmentally related disease. The article about Healthcare Without Harm lays out their strategies to reduce exposures to hazardous chemicals and processes in the healthcare setting. These steps have proven health-protective for both patients and health professionals, and could be replicated in other workplaces and environments to reduce harm and prevent disease while also saving money in the long term.
The last essay, by a member of PSR's board of directors, discusses the need to integrate training on environmentally caused disease into the training of new (and also not-so-new) physicians.
Learn more about environmental disease by reading our latest Policy Institute.
Prevention at Work: Reducing Hazardous Chemicals in Health Care
Lead Poisoning: More than Just a Health Concern
The Economic Cost of Toxic Chemicals to Environmental Justice Communities
Training Physicians in Environmental Health: A Strategy to Improve Patient Care and Reduce Healthcare Costs
Lauren Zajac, MD, MPH
The views expressed in these essays are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Physicians for Social Responsibility.