Environmental Medicine grew out of Allergy after World War II. It has specialized since that time in dealing with the impact of toxic factors on human health. As the Centers for Disease Control put it in 2000:
“Virtually all chronic human illness results from the interaction between genetic susceptibility and modifiable environmental exposures.”
Consequently, although Environmental Medicine grew out of allergy, it is much bigger than allergy, encompassing the whole of chronic illness, because CDC is right: chronic illness results when people are unable to deal with the toxins of life.
We live in a polluted world, and since 1980, the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences has documented the many lilnks between specific toxic factors found in our environment – in air, water, food, drugs – and chronic diseases. We are all canaries in a polluted coalmine, and some of us are more sensitive than others (due to genetic weaknesses).
Doctors who practice Environmental Medicine specialize in addressing chronic disease. Different doctors have different foci of interest: some dealing with infectious disease, others with allergy, but most with detoxification and remediation of chronic health problems.