There are many government agencies that deal with different aspects of environmental health. The following descriptions focus on the environmental health work conducted by these agencies, even though some of them conduct work in other fields as well. Please visit each agency's website to learn more about their missions and programs.
City and County Agencies
County and Environmental Health Programs
Individual cities and counties have their own public health departments. Your local health department may have a website describing its environmental health programs.
California State Agencies
California Regional Water Boards
The State Board's mission is to preserve, enhance and restore the quality of California's water resources, and ensure their proper allocation and efficient use.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC conducts environmental public health activities such as keeping track of some health outcomes through national survey and, providing educational resources. The CDC also houses the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Note: NCEH and ATSDR were combined in 2007.
National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)
NCEH carries out many activities including laboratory research, tracking and evaluating environment-related health problems, and helping national and international agencies prepare for environmental emergencies.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH carries out and funds medical and behavioral research for the nation in order to extend healthy life and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.
United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)
The mission of the US EPA is to protect human health and the environment. The US EPA is divided into 10 different regions, and California is a part of Region 9
The US EPA Superfund Division oversees the cleanup of hazardous waste sites. The agency maintains the nation's National Priority List, which contains the hazardous waste sites that are in most critical need of being cleaned up.
US EPA also regulates facilities that treat, store, and dispose of hazardous waste. This program is named after the law that created it, the Resource Conservation Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA). In the state of California, the Department of Toxic Substances Control has been given responsibility to oversee the RCRA program. California follows some of the federal rules for defining hazardous wastes. However, the state regulates many substances as hazardous that are not regulated under federal rules (see the California Department of Toxic Substances Control's Managing Hazardous Waste