American Academy of Environmental Medicine

Eradicating Disease by Treating the Cause Is the Key to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine's Mission.

The environmental medicine approach to health problems is based on "the simple concept that there are causes for all illnesses and the obvious, but not well accepted fact that what we eat or are exposed to in our environment has a direct effect upon our health."

Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that more than 2.5 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released into the environment in the United States each year. More than 80,000 new chemical compounds have been developed since World War II and of those 3,000 are high-volume chemicals. Annual production exceeds one million pounds. These chemicals are released into the air, water, soil and waste sites and they permeate communities, schools, and homes.

During the past several decades along with the increase of chemical toxicity in the environment the incidence of chronic diseases has increased. We are usually able to adapt to environmental changes, but chronic low-level exposure to chemical toxins can eventually have a cumulative effect and cause disease.

The branch of medicine that deals with the impact of environmental toxins on health is environmental medicine and the foremost organization representing this discipline is the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM). Founded in 1965 by a group of clinicians from varied specialties and backgrounds, AAEM is an international association of physicians and other professionals concerned with the interaction between humans and the environment and how this impacts total health.

AAEM is focused on research and education surrounding the treatment of illnesses caused by exposure to environmental toxins, such as biological and chemical agents found in food, water, and air. Concerned not only with effective treatment of these illnesses, AAEM also promotes wellness through prevention and education about the effects of environmental factors that cause disease.

Numerous exposures to environmental toxins over prolonged periods of time inevitably leads to illness. Individual characteristics such as genetic predisposition, gender, nutritional status, hormone levels, chronic infections and emotional and physical stress can further add to our levels of susceptibility to environmental agents.

Many complicated illnesses that are ineffectively treated by traditional medicine (eg, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome) can be treated successfully with environmental medicine and an integrative health approach. The focus for doctors at AAEM is not just managing the patient's symptoms, but treating the underlying cause of the illness.

The founders and members of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine are recognized as the first organization to describe or acknowledge: