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According to the World Health Organization, environmental health addresses all the physical, chemical and biological factors external to a person, and all the related factors impacting behaviours. It encompasses the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect health. It is targeted towards preventing disease and creating health-supportive environments. This definition excludes behaviour not related to environment, as well as behaviour related to the social and cultural environment, and genetics.

The Environmental Health Research Network (EHRN) provides the basis for a "community-of-practice" in environmental health research in South Africa.

The network is open to academia, researcher institutions, government departments, NGOs and any other interested parties.

The objective is to provide networking opportunities to everyone working in the environmental health research field in order to consolidate existing research and identify the gaps that still need to be filled.