NIH 1998 Almanac/The Organization/NIEHS/
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences : Mission
Human health and disease result from three
interactive elements: environmental exposures, individual susceptibility, and time. The
NIEHS mission is to reduce the burden of human illness and dysfunction from environmental
exposures by understanding each element and how they interrelate. NIEHS achieves its
mission through multidisciplinary biomedical research programs, prevention and
intervention efforts, and communication strategies that encompasses training, education,
technology transfer, and community outreach.
The institute has initiated clinical programs
that bring the results from the laboratory more quickly to the bedside, and has
strengthened its programs in prevention to address the problems associated with
environmental equity. NIEHS supports training in environmental toxicology, pathology,
mutagenesis, epidemiology and biostatistics, with emphasis on attracting women and
minorities. The institute also funds basic and applied research on the health effects of
human exposure to potentially toxic or harmful environmental agents.
In its research, NIEHS attempts to learn:
- The identification and characterization of
potentially harmful environmental agents, particularly toxic chemicals
- How substances affect human health, by studying
their impact on a variety of biological systems
- What happens in these systems after exposure to
- What diseases are caused or aggravated by
- The extent of exposure of various population
groups, especially sensitive populations, to these agents and
- What effects these agents cause, by themselves
and in combination with other environmental factors.
In rounding out these activities, NIEHS supports
efforts to identify hazardous environmental agents before they are released into the
environment. These include develop-ing, testing, and validating biological assay systems
to ascertain animal toxicity and to predict toxic effects which might occur in humans.
Program output is intended to aid those agencies
and organizations, public and private, responsible for developing and instituting
regulations, policies, and procedures to prevent and reduce the incidence of
environmentally induced diseases.