Environmental Medicine is defined in the following statement:
“The branch of medicine that deals with diagnosing and caring for people exposed to chemical and physical hazards in their homes, communities, and workplaces through such media as contaminated soil, water, and air.”
–Role of the Primary Care Physician in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Institute of Medicine, U.S. Division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Clinicians practicing with an Environmental Medicine approach manage chronic illnesses involving prolonged exposure to low doses of environmental toxicants that exist all around us. Exposure to multiple toxicants simultaneously over periods of time will trigger or aggravate those who are susceptible to environmental illness. This can then lead to a myriad of chronic, non-specific and often vague symptoms that can be challenging to identify and diagnose within the conventional medical system.
Training in Environmental Medicine involves learning how to assess patients for low-level toxicant exposures, becoming familiar with the symptom profile of various environmental toxicants and how to use standard and specialized testing to confirm the assessment and direct treatment. They are also trained in assessing total body toxin burden and in the use of therapies to promote and support the body’s ability to detoxify and in health restoration.