Environmental health specialists promote the control of infectious disease through environmental hygiene by enforcing health and safety standards relating to food, water, septic systems and other consumer products. Environmental health specialists use public health "surveillance" to track and anticipate health problems.
Public health surveillance involves the ongoing collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of information about health events. These data help determine, for example, which foods pose the biggest risk to health, how and when people are most likely to be affected, and what health risks may result from disasters such as floods.
Environmental health specialists also conduct routine inspections and provide pre-construction plan review of public facilities such as restaurants, hotels, day care businesses, food processing plants, institutions, public swimming pools and other recreational facilities to ensure that minimum health and safety standards are met.
Environmental health specialists frequently work for public agencies such as county health departments, and state agencies such as Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Public Health Division of the Oregon Health Authority.
What You Need to Know
Scope of Practice Questions
Do you have a question about how a law or rule impacts your individualized practice? Please know that the Health Licensing Office (HLO) and its boards do not provide individualized advice on how the law applies to practice in the field. Here are some resources:
- If you are looking for an attorney to provide you with legal advice about the statutes and rules governing your licensure, the
Oregon State Bar has information on how to hire a lawyer.
- If you wish to make a complaint against a person for violating HLO and the board's statutes or rules, you may use this
- If you wish to make a public comment on the statutes and rules governing your licensure, interested party feedback is encouraged at all
- Guidance on how to obtain
a license is available on the HLO website.
- If you believe HLO and the board's rules need to be amended, you may file a rule petition with HLO for consideration. Please note that any rules must fit within HLO and the board's current statutory authority. Please also know that the board will consider your position but might not adopt your proposed rule. The statute that governs rule petitions is
- If you believe HLO and the board's statutes need to be amended, information about the legislative process is also available on the
Oregon Legislature's website.
Please know the HLO and its boards remain neutral on substantive bills proposing changes to its laws and cannot act on your behalf in any proposals to change the governing statutes.
For licensing questions, please go to the Health Licensing Office Contact Us page, and scroll down to the "Licensing Division" to look for the appropriate Licensing Qualification Specialist by profession.
For policy questions, contact Policy Analyst Anne Thompson at 503-509-4775 or