The Environmental and Occupational Health Division works to protect people from hazardous exposures in homes, workplaces, and public spaces, with a particular focus on promoting environmental justice and addressing environmental injustice.
Mission: The mission of the Environmental Health Office is to respond to the full range of environmental and occupational public health issues in residences, public buildings, businesses, industry, and the environment, which pose a health threat to the citizens of Boston, particularly those most vulnerable, and to develop programs to identify and address emerging environmental health issues.
What We Do
We provide a wide range of services to residents of Boston, including:
- Response to complaints: We respond to complaints from the public for inspections regarding potential environmental health hazards. The office addresses hazards in private residences, public buildings, workplaces, and outdoor spaces. Inspections may include a visual assessment (with photos taken to document conditions) and environmental monitoring using field sampling and instruments that assist with analyses of environmental conditions. If violations of laws or health hazards are found, the responsible parties are required to take corrective action. Some of the most common hazards our office investigates include, but are not limited to, mold in homes and businesses, asbestos hazards or illegal removal, bedbugs (click here for Spanish and here for Haitian Creole), lead hazards and illegal deleading, chemical exposures and spills, and issues of waste disposal/recycling. To report a health hazard or request an inspection, contact the Environmental Health Office at 617-534-5965.
- Regulation & permitting: We regulate and permit a number of business types to promote best practices, health, and safety for employees, for customers, and for neighbors. We permit asbestos contractors, biological laboratories, medical marijuana dispensaries, private water wells, certain waste disposal businesses (recycling, trash, junkyards), nail salons, indoor ice skating rinks, tanning salons, and body art establishments and practitioners. In addition to permitting and routine inspections of these businesses, we also respond to complaints of hazards involving these businesses. To report a problem, call the office at 617-534-5965.
- Safe Shops Program: Provision of technical assistance and resources to small businesses such as nail salons, hair salons, and auto shops to reduce pollution and chemical exposure by workers, clients, and neighbors. Click here to learn more about the Safe Shops outreach program, and the Green & Clean business recognition to small businesses such as nail salons and auto shops to reduce pollution and chemical exposure by workers and clients
- Investigation, case management, enforcement, and training to address and reduce childhood lead poisoning
- Playing an active role in city efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts
To learn more about what we do, please explore our page via the links on the right of this page or call us at 617-534-5965.
The Environmental Health Office applies the principles of environmental justice to our work. Per the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), Environmental Justice is the fair treatment
and meaningful involvement
of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
- Fair treatment means that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies
- Meaningful Involvement means that:
- people have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health;
- the public's contribution can influence the regulatory agency's decision;
- their concerns will be considered in the decision making process; and
- the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected
If you have questions, please call us at 617-534-5965.