The very nature of the physical environment leads to complications in the conduct
of environmental epidemiological studies relative to classical infectious disease
epidemiology. Exposures associated with the physical environment are both numerous
and highly complex in nature. However, it is most often the case that more than
one agent exists, or indeed more than one pathway of exposure exists for a given
agent, e.g. in the case of a chemical agent exposure could be by inhalation, through
dermal contact, or by ingestion. In addition, environmental agents, by nature, may
often tend to be highly ubiquitous in nature and this, coupled with the number of
environments and microclimates to which an individual is exposed in a typical day,
lead to very complex patterns of exposure.
HPS provides support to stakeholders in specific environmental epidemiological investigations, both acute and chronic. Examples of the types of investigations supported by HPS include the outbreak of skin rash in a new school and the risk of carbon monoxide exposure in residential premises adjacent to hot food takeaways.
Last reviewed: 04 March 2015