The Minnesota Environmental Health Association (MEHA™) is an organization of public health professionals in government and industry working to improve the living and working conditions in homes, businesses, and the protection of the environment.
Control of environmental conditions is becoming increasingly important to protect and maintain our health and sense of well-being. Environmental Health is the field of public health which is concerned with management of these environmental conditions.
Members of a local board of health should actively seek to assess their community's environmental health needs, develop policies and programs to meet those needs, and assure that internal and external support are available to fulfill the established policies and environmental health programs.
The National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH) has published "Board of Health Recommendations for Hiring Qualified Environmental Health Practitioners". The purpose of this document is to assist board of health members in understanding the importance of environmental health programs through the employment of competent personnel.
If you are an elected official in Minnesota, MEHA invites you to contact one of our officers or directors for more information about these programs.
Environmental Health Specialists provide expertise in the following programs:
Food Service Sanitation And Food Safety
Through licensing, inspections and consultations of restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and other food service establishments, Environmental Health Specialists promote sanitary conditions for food preparation and service.
Other program services for the prevention of foodborne illness include certification of food managers, education and consultation in safe handling techniques, and investigation of complaints and disease outbreaks.
Public Health Nuisance Control And Housing
Environmental Health Specialists help their communities maintain their housing stock by responding to complaints of unsanitary conditions, and providing education to ensure safe and healthy housing environments. Specialists investigate sources of lead poisoning and regulate removal of these sources. Specialists also inspect manufactured home parks to ensure these communities are properly maintained and operated.
Recreational And Lodging Facilities
Environmental Health Specialists foster safe and sanitary conditions through a preventive approach which includes inspections, monitoring, and educational programming for the following areas:
- Public swimming pools
- Recreational camping areas
- Youth camps
- Fairs, festivals, and special events
- Hotels and motels
- Bed and Breakfast establishments
Sewage Treatment And Disposal
In many communities, Environmental Health Specialists are involved in protection of public health, groundwater quality, and surface water quality through soil evaluations, permits, and inspections of individual on-site septic systems.
Environmental Health Specialists provide information, consultation, investigation and suggestions for mitigating problems associated with lead, asbestos, radon, radioactive, and other hazardous materials.
Solid And Hazardous Waste
Environmental Health Specialists protect groundwater and other environmental resources through licensing, inspection and consultation of hazardous waste generators & facilities, solid waste haulers, and solid waste disposal facilities.
Schools, Day Care Centers, And Other Institutions
Environmental Health Specialists inspect and consult with public and private schools, day care centers, correctional facilities, and other institutions to ensure health and safety conditions are maintained to protect children and vulnerable adults.
Indoor Air Quality
The Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act is enforced by Environmental Health Specialists. Specialists also investigate and provide consultations regarding other indoor air quality concerns, such as radon, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and biological contaminants.
Water Supplies And Water Quality
Citizens with private water supplies (wells) are assisted by Environmental Health Specialists who monitor drinking water quality through laboratory, inspection, and consultation services. Specialists also help with groundwater planning and Clean Water Partnerships.
Consultation And Education
Environmental Health Specialists proactively participate on teams promoting safe living conditions for children, older adults, migrant workers, and other vulnerable populations.
Environmental Health Specialists also provide information and referral services to communities through presentations to educational institutions at all levels, by participating in cooperative programs and through one-to-one consultation services.
Many Environmental Health Specialists teach national certification courses for food service managers, swimming pool operators, and other occupations which can impact public health and safety.