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Levy Library Blog

2020 is the Year of Environmental Health

by Kerry McKee on 2020-01-22T12:00:00-05:00 | Comments


Each year the Levy Library chooses a programming theme that focuses on a department or audience directly related to the Mount Sinai and Icahn School of Medicine communities and develops events and workshops, and builds out a collection of resources around that theme. This year, after much thought and deliberation, the Library has decided to tweak the year of criteria and focus on a current topic that that extends beyond the walls of the Mount Sinai Health System and Icahn School of Medicine communities.

The Levy Library is excited to announce that 2020 is the Year of Environmental Health. The Library chose on this theme to raise awareness, share knowledge, and open up a dialogue about environment health and how our daily interactions with the environment can affect our quality of life. The Library has no plans to debate with our communities about whether climate change is real or not, (we’ll leave those debates to the presidential candidates!) but will instead focus on sharing facts, data, information, and resources based on the 6 themes from Healthy People 2020 Environmental Health by the Office for Disease Prevention and Health Promotions. Each theme highlights an element of environmental health:

  1. Outdoor air quality
  2. Surface and ground water quality
  3. Toxic substances and hazardous wastes
  4. Homes and communities
  5. Infrastructure and surveillance
  6. Global environmental health

To learn more about each theme in detail, you can check out the website here:


So to get things rolling on the Year of Environmental Health, we wanted to answer some foundational questions about Environmental Health:

What is Environmental Health?


Why is Environmental Health Important?

According to, maintaining a healthy environment is central to increasing quality of life and years of healthy life. Globally, 23% of all deaths and 26% of deaths among children under age 5 are due to preventable environmental factors. Environmental factors are diverse and far reaching. They include:

  • Exposure to hazardous substances in the air, water, soil, and food
  • Natural and technological disasters
  • Climate change
  • Occupational hazards
  • The built environment


How does the environment affect us?

From air quality, natural disasters, to even the noise and congestion in your own city, when it comes to your health, the surrounding environment can have a major impact on both your physical and mental well being. 


These are just a few tidbits of information but if you are interested in learning more about Environmental Health, be sure to check out the library’s collection of resources on Environment Health at

Stay tuned for more information on Year of Environmental Health, as we will continue to share more interesting facts, data, and news throughout the year.

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