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NNLM Reading Club: Environmental Health

Environmental Health

Our environment affects our health. If parts of the environment, like the air, water, or soil become polluted, it can lead to health problems. For example, asthma pollutants and chemicals in the air or in the home can trigger asthma attacks. Some environmental risks are a part of the natural world, like radon in the soil. Others are the result of human activities, like lead poisoning from paint, or exposure to asbestos or mercury from mining or industrial use.


Discover more about environmental health at MedlinePlus, a free and easy-to-use online resource of trusted health and wellness information from the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Social Media

Environmental Health Media Toolkits ​(CDC)


Asthma and Outdoor Air Pollution (PDF)
How to Dispose of Medicines Properly (PDF)

There's an NIH for that... and more

New Release

Erin Brockovich, the title character of the feature film starring Julia Roberts who dramatized her true story of fighting the energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and its culpability for the Hinkley groundwater contamination incident, has released a new book. Superman's Not Coming | Erin Brockovich | Pantheon | August 25, 2020 | 384 pages | ISBN: 978-1524746964

Library Programming

Share Science

Citizen science invites anyone to participate in projects from almost anywhere! SciStarter and NLM have partnered to help scientists answer questions about human and environmental health. At SciStarter.org/nlm, you will find an introduction to citizen science and projects such as Crowd the Tap. Its goal is to identify areas for tap water testing and infrastructure replacement to ensure safe drinking water in the United States.

Explore the Data

CDC Environmental Tracking Network logo

The National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network brings together health data and environment data from national, state, and city sources and provides supporting information to make the data easier to understand. The Tracking Network has data and information on environments and hazards, health effects, and population health. Interact with the data by visiting https://ephtracking.cdc.gov/DataExplorer/#/

Image of AirNow mobile appAirNow reports air quality using the official U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI), a color-coded index designed to communicate whether air quality is healthy or unhealthy for you. The website highlights air quality in your local area first, while still providing air quality information at the state, national, and world views. An interactive map lets you zoom out to get the big picture or drill down to see data for a single air quality monitor. There's even a mobile app for your phone. When you know the AQI in your area, you can take steps to protect your health.

Engage Youth

Book cover image Poisoned WaterBased on original reporting by a Pulitzer Prize finalist and an industry veteran, Poisoned Water is the first book for young adults about the Flint water crisis. Through interviews with residents and intensive research into legal records and news accounts, journalist Candy J. Cooper, assisted by writer-editor Marc Aronson, reveals the true story of Flint. Poisoned Water shows not just how the crisis unfolded in 2014, but also the history of racism and segregation that led up to it, the beliefs and attitudes that fueled it, and how the people of Flint fought―and are still fighting―for clean water and healthy lives.

Poisoned Water | Candy J Cooper and Marc Aronson |  Bloomsbury Children's Books | 256 pages | ISBN: 978-1547602322 | Grade Level 5 - 9

Watch and Discuss

Poisoned Water

Screen the PBS NOVA special report of the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Poisoned Water uncovers the science behind this manmade disaster— from the intricacies of water chemistry to the biology of lead poisoning to the misuse of science itself. NOVA follows ordinary citizens and independent scientists who exposed the danger lurking in Flint’s water and confronted those who turned a blind eye. Poisoned Water Video Questions

Bag It

In this touching and often flat-out-funny film, Bag It, we follow "everyman" Jeb Berrier as he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world. What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic and its effect. Bag It Video Questions

Offer Courses

Invite Speakers

NIEHS Speakers Bureau offers opportunities for scientists, technicians, and administrators to speak about a variety of topics in environmental health sciences, as well as educational preparation and career paths. Speakers are also available as judges and/or to participate in science fairs and festivals.

Library Skills Training

NLM Resources for Citizen Scientists

Learn about citizen science library program models, free National Library of Medicine resources to incorporate into citizen science library programs, and sources of funding to explore for buying testing kits or supporting community research efforts. Citizen science library programs are perfect for all ages, and all types of libraries. No prior scientific knowledge is required, simply a willingness to participate! Watch a previous recording or register for the next live class on Monday, September 21, 2020, at 10:00 am PT.

Disaster Information Specialist Certification

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) provides health information resources and technology for disaster and public health emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. The goal is to connect people to quality disaster health information, foster a culture of community resiliency, and to facilitate a network of information professionals and librarians ready to take on the role of "information responder" in their communities and organizations. The NLM Disaster Health offers free online training courses on accessing and using disaster health information, which can be taken for CE credit to earn a Disaster Information Specialist certification.