Environmental Exposure & Health Initiative (EEHI)

Programme overview

The Environmental Exposure & Health Initiative aimed to provide important new knowledge on the interconnections and pathways between environmental pollutants and interacting stressors, exposure routes and health effects in humans, including variations in susceptibility and the definition of health risks. This integrated understanding is vital for the development of evidence-based policies and practices that will reduce the adverse health effects of contaminated water, land, food or air.

This was a joint initiative between NERC, the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Department of Health (DH), the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) and Defra. The initiative was launched under the umbrella of the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) partnership and was designed to contribute to the partnership's strategic objective on protecting human, plant and animal health from diseases, pests and environmental hazards

Background & objectives

Increasing population growth and urbanisation is leading to augmented pressures on ecosystems services and human health, including adverse health effects of contaminated water, land, food or air. This is caused by a variety of pollutants such as endocrine disruptors, drugs, pesticides, or particulates, often combined with other environmental and dietary stressors such as increased temperature and a diet low in anti-oxidants.

The initiative established interdisciplinary teams of researchers, conducting high quality state-of-the-art innovative research into the relationship between environmental pollutants (in water, air, soil or food), other interacting stressors and human health, advancing the development of evidence based policies and practices. The programme integrated sophistication in exposure measurement with research addressing evidence, mechanisms and scale of human health effects, and how these are influenced by environmental, behavioural and socioeconomic factors.

The initiative stimulated creativity and provided important new insights that broke the mould of current thinking. By capitalising on novel technologies and methodologies and existing infrastructure and capabilities the programme drove step changes in areas of environmental health research where the UK takes an international lead.

Reports & key findings

The following documents and links are related to or give more information about this programme.

Report of the workshop on Environmental Exposure & Health (PDF, 766KB) - jointly sponsored by NERC and MRC

EEHI/ESEI Communication Plan 2012-2016 (PDF, 248KB)

Air Quality - an integrated understanding of health risks (PDF, 439KB)

Publications - Peer reviewed articles (PDF, 70KB)