Our environmental health is effected by toxic materials around us. This picture showcases plastic and litter washed up on a river bank.

Virtually every sector of the modern economy introduces toxic material into the environment, from energy production and consumption to industrial activity, transportation, and more. As these toxins find their way into drinking water, the land surrounding homes and businesses, and everyday consumer products, poor environmental health can have detrimental effects on human health and, eventually, the broader economy.

EPIC scholars are advancing knowledge of the social, economic and legal ramifications of damage to environmental health —from studying how the pesticide DDT effected infant mortality in the cotton-rich south to earning how power plants affect home values and birth weight. A first-of-its-kind study explores the impact of oil and gas development, finding that fracking can impact surface water quality. Another study explores trends in air and water quality five years after China’s “war on pollution,” finding significant progress. Meanwhile, partners at the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic are working with organizations to encourage further protection of water, air and all environmental resources. Together, this work is helping to educate policymakers and consumers on the potentially detrimental effects of environmental pollution and empowering them with the tools to effect change.