Standards are not an end in themselves- they are intended to protect, improve and maintain the public's health. Important steps in standard setting include: recognition of the need for a standard; collection of relevant information on the health outcome; collection of relevant information on the determinants of the need and the health outcome, e.g. exposures, practices etc; linkage between the need and the health outcome e.g. exposure response relationships; determination of a proposed health-based standard; consideration of methods of measuring the standard; political/social/economic influences on the final standard to reduce risk to an acceptable and affordable level. These steps usually lead to the enactment of legislation and the further evaluation and improvement of the standard.
There are three basic classification types for standards usually used: structure standards, dealing with the existence of specific facilities e.g in industry; process standards, dealing with specific processes or practices e.g. in industry, or maintenance of equipment e.g. personal protective equipment in the workplaces, or emission standards in industry; and outcome standards, which are generally concerned with public health and wellbeing.
Environmental health comprises those aspects of human health, including quality of life, that are determined by physical, chemical, biological, social and psychosocial factors in the environment.