Environment & Health Research Unit
Unit Director: Prof. Angela Mathee
The mandate of the MRC Environment & Health Research Unit (E&HRU) is “to conduct population-based research on environmental risks to health, with special emphasis on those living in poverty.”
The E&HRU comprises a team with expertise in environmental epidemiology, public health, chemistry, medicine, environmental science and nutrition.
"If you want to learn about the health of a population,
look at the air they breathe, the water they drink, and the places where they live."
– Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, in the Fifth Century BC.
The main areas of research currently underway in the E&HRU are:
- Urbanization and urban health;
- Lead poisoning prevention;
- Lead exposure in fishing communities;
- The relationship between bone lead levels and violent/aggressive behaviour;
- Trends in lead exposure following the phase-out of leaded petrol;
- Exposure to environmental pollution
- metals in the environment (for example lead, mercury, cadmium, manganese and arsenic);
- the public health implications of heat stress (climate change);
- the prevalence of hookah pipe smoking in high schools;
- Food insecurity and procurement.
The E&HRU hosts the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Urban Health (WHOCCUH). The WHOCCUH is a partnership of:
- The South African Medical Research Council;
- The University of Johannesburg;
- The University of the Witwatersrand; and
- The City of Johannesburg
The over-arching goal of the WHOCCUH is to, through pooling of the expertise and experiences of the partner organizations, conduct research and make recommendations to improve urban health.
The E&HRU and the WHOCCUH are directed by Professor Angela Mathee.
Telephone: +27 11 274 6078
Facsimile: +27 11 642 6832