Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to report environmental health concerns to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH), where they will be evaluated and referred to an appropriate program area for potential investigation and follow-up.
While we do not offer primary health care services, we can provide advice and public health recommendations to you. DOH environmental health staff members collaborate with federal, state, county and local officials, healthcare providers and the public on a regular basis to address environmental health issues throughout the commonwealth.
Before Contacting Us
If you have an environmental health concern, you can help the department best assist and review your complaint if you:
- Know the location of concern.
- Visit your healthcare provider or doctor first.
- Have environmental test results (e.g., water quality) available.
- Be prepared to talk about your health symptoms.
- Be prepared to speak about your family's current health and health history.
Special Note: Both DOH and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) receive and respond to environmental complaints. Residents should know that, in matters of environmental concern, DOH is primarily an advisory agency, not a regulatory one. Environmental regulation concerns are primarily managed by DEP or, at a national level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The following provides guidance for when to contact DEP versus DOH. It is possible that you will need to contact both departments.
DOH examines how different environmental factors affect a person's well-being. DOH is the agency to which you primarily direct your complaint or questions if you are concerned that your health has been or will be impacted by environmental conditions. DOH can assess environmental sampling data and/or clinical (e.g., toxicological) data to inform public health recommendations to keep you safe. Examples of ways that DOH can help include:
- Provide information and guidance on common environmental exposures
- Interpret environmental sampling (e.g., water quality) results
- Connect you with other resources for environmental testing and information
- Analyze and share aggregate environmental health and population data
You can also
report an environmental complaint to DEP, particularly when it is related to industry or regulations.
To report an environmental emergency, contact DEP at 1-800-541-2050. An emergency is one that requires an immediate response such as spilled material, a fish kill, or other situation that must be addressed in real time.
ONGP Health Information Database
The Division of Environmental Health Epidemiology manages the oil and natural gas production (ONGP) health information database. If you have a health concern related to the oil and gas industry in your area, please contact the division to be included in the database or submit an environmental health concern. DOH environmental health staff are also available to answer general questions about health impacts of the oil and gas industry.
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Division of Environmental Health Epidemiology
Bureau of Epidemiology
Room 933, Health and Welfare Building
625 Forster Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120-0701