Environmental Health Regulations in U.S. and Canada
This research examines environmental health regulation in the United States and Canada. The approach to environmental health regulation in the two countries is compared and contrasted through considerations of historical development, motivations2 for intensified legislation, and current and future trends.
Environmental health, as a concept, contains elements of both environmental protection and public health, although the scope of environmental health does not encompass the totality of either environmental protection or public health. An important element of environmental protection, as an example, is the development and implementation of public policy to protect sensitive ecological areas. The policies designed to protect areas such as Prince William Sound in Alaska from damage by oil spills provide an illustration of an attempt at environmental protection. Protection of the environment in such a context, however, does not have a direct re2lationship to the health of human beings (so long as petroleum contaminated sea life is not consumed). Thus, policy initiatives designed to protect the natural environment where direct relationships to human health are not strong are not included within the concept of environmental health.
Laws designed to insure the purity of ground water provide another example of2 environmental protection. In this instance, however, the link to human health is stronger. Polluted water supplies are a direct threat to human health. Thus, environmental protection measures such as those designed to assure the purity of ground water are encompassed within the concept of environmental health.
Similar distinctions m2ay be made with respect to public health. The AIDS (acquired immunity deficiency syndrome) crisis is a serious public health problem in the 1990s. As far as is known, however, neither the HIV virus that causes AIDS, nor its transmission is associated with elements of the natural enviro…