Ethical issues in environmental health research

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15 Scopus citations


Environmental health research encompasses a wide range of investigational topics, study designs, and empirical methodologies. As that arm of public health research concerned with understanding the health effects of the many environments in which humans live and work, the field is intimately connected with social concerns about environmental quality and disparities of power and privilege that place differential burdens upon members of underserved communities. Environmental health researchers thus engage many ethical and social issues in the work they do. These issues relate to the choice of research topics to study, the methods employed to examine these topics, the communication of research findings to the public, and the involvement of scientific experts in the shaping of environmental policy and governmental regulation. These and other topics are reviewed in this article. These ethical, legal, and social issues are becoming increasingly more complex as new genetic and molecular techniques are used to study environmental toxicants and their potential influence on human and ecologic health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1786-1788
Number of pages3
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number14
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Environmental health research
  • Ethics
  • Governmental regulation
  • Justice
  • Participatory research
  • Public policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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