People are exposed every day to a variety of environmental influences. Whereas a pristine environment has a positive effect on human health, adverse environmental conditions or an environment perceived as deficient can cause illness.
It is a major statistical challenge to shed light on the conditions which give rise to illness, assuming that it is possible to do so at all. However, those affected suffer very acutely from environment-related complaints or illnesses. This makes it all the more important to bring these patients into contact with special environmental medical centres (compilation in the journal "Umweltmedizin - Hygiene - Arbeitsmedzin", formerly "Umweltmedizin in Forschung und Praxis") which, with their wide-ranging professional interdisciplinary approach and experience in the field of environmental medicine, are more likely to be able to make a positive contribution to diagnosis and treatment.
In addition to the clinical care of patients, a further major goal of environmental medicine is to prevent the occurrence of environment-related diseases. To this end it is essential to identify potentially pathogenic environmental factors and understand their behaviour and influence on human health as a prelude to deriving appropriate reference, critical and guideline values for the purpose of health protection. Through its recommendations environmental medicine thus contributes to preventive health and environment protection.