The Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) Department has a sound reputation as a leader in training students to...

  • Identify agents that affect health
  • Study the long-term effects of environmental and occupational health risks
  • Determine the molecular mechanisms of toxic agents that contribute to the development of certain illnesses and diseases.

Environmental health specialists help find ways to promote healthier environments and minimize risks that increase the incidence of respiratory, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal diseases, asthma, lower respiratory infections, road traffic injuries, poisonings, and drownings.
Occupational health specialists study all aspects of health and safety in the workplace. From exposure to toxins on the job, to workplace violence and lifting injuries, occupational hazards create an enormous health burden, unnecessary pain and suffering, and economic loss in the workplace.

Find a research program for your interests

Many EOH faculty members collaborate with basic sciences and clinical investigators throughout other departments at Pitt Public Health, and the University of Pittsburgh schools of medicine and engineering. Students and faculty perform studies on the principles and practice of environmental health ranging from basic research at the cellular and molecular level to applied translational studies of human disease, population exposure, and public health studies.

In addition, faculty and students work with local governmental organizations, such as the Allegheny County Health Department, the Pittsburgh Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority to study and improve the environmental health of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Pursue a career in environmental and occupational health

Doctoral degree graduates are prepared to work in laboratory-based academic settings as faculty or postdoctoral fellows and become prominent members of government agencies and independent industries. Recent graduates have obtained fellowships at top-tier academic institutions, positions with
the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and in firms conducting chemical and environmental risk assessment.

Master's degree graduates play prominent roles as environmental/occupational health practitioners in various settings, including industry, hospitals, government agencies, and private practice.

Degrees

The EOH Department offers two degrees in the environmental health sciences, providing a broad theoretical and practical education for positions in academia, industry, or government. The multiple tracks provide flexibility in acquiring advance training in toxicology, environmental biophysics, molecular and cellular pathobiology, risk assessment, and exposure science.

Our professional degree program allows students to earn concentrations in environmental health or risk assessment and apply these concepts to public health practice.

 

Goldstein comments on how EPA director Andrew Wheeler is using scientific transparency as a weapon

SALON - The tobacco industry ...
Goldstein comments on how EPA director Andrew Wheeler is using scientific transparency as a weapon

SALON - The tobacco industry may have been the first to recognize that requiring transparency in scientific research could serve as a weapon to defend a dangerous product, but it appears that, in the face of opposition from virtually the entire scientific community, Environmental Protection Agency ... (11/24/2019)

Ferrar continues to work with FracTracker, driven by the prioritization of public health

VOYAGE LA - "We fill a unique...
Ferrar continues to work with FracTracker, driven by the prioritization of public health

VOYAGE LA - "We fill a unique role. FracTracker Alliance studies, maps, and communicates the risks of oil and gas development to protect our planet and support the renewable energy transformation. We support groups across the United States, addressing pressing extraction-related concerns with a len... (11/04/2019)

Fabisiak among public health experts that flunk report tying PA air quality improvements to gas drilling

DESMOG BLOG - “They indicate ...
Fabisiak among public health experts that flunk report tying PA air quality improvements to gas drilling

DESMOG BLOG - “They indicate that the Clean Air Act works,” said EOH's James Fabisiak, director of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities, referring to the pollution reductions starting in 1990 shown in CEA’s report. “Air improved by setting stricter ambient air quality standards, cont... (11/04/2019)

Why do people die young here? Maseru project aims to send 'citizen scientists' out to investigate

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - The...
Why do people die young here? Maseru project aims to send 'citizen scientists' out to investigate

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - The cost of being poor can include decades of life. A just-launched partnership between a Homewood-based community group and a University of Pittsburgh research team intends to explore that grim price tag, and to create a corps of "citizen scientists" who could lead the ch... (09/18/2019)

Tyurina finds genetic engineering could open possibilities for Parkinson’s patients

MEDICIAL LIFE SCIENCES -  A t...
Tyurina finds genetic engineering could open possibilities for Parkinson’s patients

MEDICIAL LIFE SCIENCES -  A team of researchers including EOH's Yulia Tyurina unveiled the most promising strategies in applying genetic engineering. The noble method can help study the role of cellular processes in the disease progression, develop new treatment methods and drugs, and estimate thei... (09/16/2019)

 

Thu
1/23
EOH Journal Club
Ambient black carbon particles reach the fetal side of human placenta EOH Journal Club
Ambient black carbon particles reach the fetal side of human placenta
Thu 1/23 11:00AM - 12:00PM
4140 Public Health, Young Seminar Room

Presenter: Brandy Hill

Paper: Ambient black carbon particles reach the fetal side of human placenta

Authors: Hannelore Bové, Eva Bongaerts, Eli Slenders, Esmée M. Bijnens, Nelly D. Saenen, Wilfried Gyselaers, Peter Van Eyken, Michelle Plusquin, Maarten B.J. Roeffaers, Marcel Ameloot & Tim S. Nawrot

Abstract:
Particle transfer across the placenta has been suggested but to date, no direct evidence in real-life, human context exists. Here we report the presence of black carbon (BC) particles as part of combustion-derived particulate matter in human placentae using white-light generation under femtosecond pulsed illumination. BC is identified in all screened placentae, with an average (SD) particle count of 0.95 × 104 (0.66 × 104) and 2.09 × 104 (0.9 × 104) particles per mm3 for low and high exposed mothers, respectively. Furthermore, the placental BC load is positively associated with mothers’ residential BC exposure during pregnancy (0.63 2.42 μg per m3). Our finding that BC particles accumulate on the fetal side of the placenta suggests that ambient particulates could be transported towards the fetus and represents a potential mechanism explaining the detrimental health effects of pollution from early life
onwards.

Fri
1/24
EOH Seminar Series
This beautiful, greasy and rusty life: why polyunsaturated lipids were selected? EOH Seminar Series
This beautiful, greasy and rusty life: why polyunsaturated lipids were selected?
Fri 1/24 1:00PM - 2:00PM
1155 Public Health, Foster Conf. Rm. (former 1149)

The Department of Environmental and Occupational Health presents:

"This beautiful, greasy and rusty life: why polyunsaturated lipids were selected?"

Valerian E. Kagan, PhD, DSc
Professor
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health
Graduate School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh

Friday, January 24, 2020
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Conference Room 1155 - Public Health 

Thu
1/30
EOH Journal Club
Influence of Environment and Lifestyle on Incidence and Progress of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in EOH Journal Club
Influence of Environment and Lifestyle on Incidence and Progress of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in
Thu 1/30 11:00AM - 12:00PM
4140 Public Health, Young Seminar Room

Presenter: Fan Wu

Paper: Influence of Environment and Lifestyle on Incidence and Progress of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in A German ALS Population

Authors: Sonja Korner, Johanna Kammeyer, Antonia Zapf, Magdalena Kuzma-Kozakiewicz, Maria
Piotrkiewicz, Bożenna Kuraszkiewicz, Hanna Goszczynska, Marta Gromicho, Julian
Grosskreutz, Peter M. Andersen, Mamede de Carvalho, Susanne Petri

Abstract:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease mainly affecting upper and
lower motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Pathogenesis of ALS is still unclear, and a multifactorial etiology is presumed. The remarkable clinical heterogeneity between different phenotypes of ALS patients suggests that environmental and lifestyle factors could play a role in onset and progression of ALS. We analyzed a cohort of 117 ALS patients and 93 controls. ALS patients and controls were compared regarding physical activity, dietary habits, smoking, residential environment, potentially toxic environmental factors and profession before symptom onset and throughout the disease course. Data were collected by a personal interview. For statistical analysis descriptive statistics, statistical tests and analysis of variance were used. ALS patients and controls did not differ regarding smoking, diet and extent of physical training. No higher frequency of toxic influences could be detected in the ALS group. ALS patients lived in rural environment considerably more often than the control persons, but this was not associated with a higher percentage of occupation in agriculture. There was also a higher percentage of university graduates in the ALS group. Patients with bulbar onset were considerably more often born in an urban environment as compared to spinal onset. Apart from education and environment, ALS phenotypes did not differ in any investigated environmental or life-style factor. The rate of disease progression was not influenced by any of the investigated environmental and life-style factors. The present study could not identify any dietary habit, smoking, physical activity, occupational factor as well as toxic influences as risk factor or protective factor for onset or progression of ALS. Living in rural environment and higher education might be associated with higher incidence of ALS.

Fri
2/14
EOH Seminar Series
ALK1 signaling in vascular development and disease EOH Seminar Series
ALK1 signaling in vascular development and disease
Fri 2/14 1:00PM - 2:00PM
1155 Public Health, Foster Conf. Rm. (former 1149)

Presented by Beth L. Roman, associate professor of human genetics, member of the Heart, Lung, and Blood Vascular Medicine Institute, and basic research director, HHT Center. 

Thu
3/26
EOH Journal Club
Organophosphorus pesticide chlorpyrifos intake promotes obesity and insulin resistance through impac EOH Journal Club
Organophosphorus pesticide chlorpyrifos intake promotes obesity and insulin resistance through impac
Thu 3/26 11:00AM - 12:00PM
4140 Public Health, Young Seminar Room

Presenter: Jenna Kuhn

Paper: Organophosphorus pesticide chlorpyrifos intake promotes obesity and insulin resistance through impacting gut and gut microbiota

Authors: Yiran Liang, Jing Zhan, Donghui Liu, Mai Luo, Jiajun Han, Xueke Liu, Chang Liu, Zheng Cheng, Zhiqiang Zhou, and Peng Wang

Abstract:
Background
Disruption of the gut microbiota homeostasis may induce low-grade inflammation leading to obesity-associated diseases. A major protective mechanism is to use the multi-layered mucus structures to keep a safe distance between gut epithelial cells and microbiota. To investigate whether pesticides would induce insulin resistance/obesity through interfering with mucus-bacterial interactions, we conducted a study to determine how long-term exposure to chlorpyrifos affected C57Bl/6 and CD-1 (ICR) mice fed high- or normal-fat diets. To further investigate the effects of chlorpyrifos-altered microbiota, antibiotic treatment and microbiota transplantation experiments were conducted.

Results
The results showed that chlorpyrifos caused broken integrity of the gut barrier, leading to increased lipopolysaccharide entry into the body and finally low-grade inflammation, while genetic background and diet pattern have limited influence on the chlorpyrifos-induced results. Moreover, the mice given chlorpyrifos-altered microbiota had gained more fat and lower insulin sensitivity.

Conclusions
Our results suggest that widespread use of pesticides may contribute to the worldwide epidemic of inflammation-related diseases.