Environmental Health Careers
Have you ever wondered who makes sure the food and beverages you buy in your community are safe? Do you ever think about what laws protect your health at an apartment pool or the spa at the fitness center? What about at festivals, farmer’s markets, outdoor concerts, celebrity golf tournaments; resort or hotel pools and spas, water parks, and summer camps? All of these publicly attended facilities are regularly inspected by Registered Environmental Health Specialists from County and City Environmental Health Services or Health Departments. As defined in State law, Registered Environmental Health Specialists (REHS) are highly trained, qualified individuals who conduct a wide range of public health and environmental protection services. Environmental Health Specialists strive to create a safe place to work, live and play in California communities. They are on the front lines of improving the quality of life and take this important job very seriously.
Check out this great video from the Placer County Environmental Health Department to see more about what environmental health staff do throughout the state.
Do you want to learn more about what Environmental Health does or what qualities make a good Environmental Health Specialist? A recent video from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Branch has some great information! Click HERE to view the video.
What is Environmental Health?
In California, you are protected by the sixty-two County and City Environmental Health Agencies and their REHS who work to reduce the incidence of illness or injury for the people in our communities. We do this by monitoring and enforcing regulations of the California Health & Safety Code, local ordinances, and regulations. This is usually accomplished through permitting and inspecting facilities.The primary local environmental health program elements include:
Retail and Consumer Protection is provided in conjunction with State and Federal inspection programs. REHS ensure the day-to-day operations are done in a
safe manner to prevent food-borne illness. REHS conduct surveillance of a wide range of food establishments including restaurants, markets, mobile food units, farmers markets, dairy and milk products facilities, vending machines, etc., and Food Facility Plan Check and Construction.
REHS strive to prevent people from having to live in substandard housing and ensure children are not endangered through inspection and enforcement of: housing code enforcement; lead paint re- mediation; employee housing; jail/detention facilities; organized camps; and motels/hotels. The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is also often a part of the housing program.
Recreational Health and Bathing Facilities:
Environmental health agencies are responsible for the safe construction and operation of all public bathing areas, including pools and spas in the state. Local environmental health agencies monitor coastal and freshwater bathing areas, post warnings, and close beaches with polluted waters to prevent injury or illness.
REHS regulates: Small Public Water System; Well Construction and Destruction; Cross Connection Control Programs; Water Haulers, to ensure drinking water is safe for the public.
REHS in the solid waste program ensure that laws are followed with regard to the operation of landfills, transfer stations, compost facilities, recycling facilities, and other waste facilities, with the goal of protecting the environment from pollution.
There are many other Environmental Health Programs throughout the discipline! To learn more about how to prepare yourself for an exciting career in Environmental Health download the Career Guide below.
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