Skip to Main Content
As people go about their daily routine, they encounter myriad chemicals. Some of these chemicals, oxygen for instance, are absolutely essential for life. Others, environmental pollutants, are potentially harmful and a major factor that contributes to illness. The field of environmental health strives to understand not only what we encounter every day and over our lifespan, but also how our bodies respond to those exposures. The responses can be good (improving health), bad, or indifferent (by far the most common). Environmental health scientists have long studied the effects of environment on health using the tools we have available, steadily improving our ability to make connections and improve health as new technologies emerge. This commentary will lay out a number of challenges in two specific areas where the circuits and systems engineering community can help us address some of our biggest needs: the development of sensor systems for assessing exposures to environmental factors and the development of engineered tissue systems for assessing the biological response to the factors we are exposed to.