What is the practice of Environmental Health?

“Practice of environmental health” means the use of public health principles in the application of the sanitary sciences to prevent human injury and illness by identifying and evaluating environmental sources and hazardous agents and limiting exposures to hazardous physical, chemical, and biological agents in air, water, soil, food, and other environmental media or settings that may adversely affect human health.

What is an Environmental Health Specialist?

Environmental Health Specialists are commonly referred to as “Health Inspectors”.

Over 90% of the registered environmental health specialists and trainees are employed in “public service”; the Southern Nevada Health District, Washoe County Health Department, Nevada Division of Health, Nevada Department of Agriculture and other state and local governments in Nevada and out of state.

As of December 31, 2017, the Board had 246 current registrants.  Registration numbers are highly influenced by public employment, agency authorized positions and budget authority, and have ranged between 225 to 250 annually.

NRS 625A Review – History, Purpose of Registration

The Board of Registered Environmental Health Specialists was created in 1987 as the Board of Registered Public Health Sanitarians with voluntary registration of professional Sanitarians.

In 1995 the name of the Board was revised as the Board of Registered Environmental Health Specialists, and the profession title was changed to Registered Environmental Health Specialists.

Registration became mandatory effective July 1, 2007 by legislation enacted in 2005; the registration of Environmental Health Specialists Trainees was added at that time.

NRS 625A.010  Purpose of registration; certificate revocable.The purpose of registering environmental health specialists and environmental health specialist trainees is to protect the public health and safety and the general welfare of the people of this State. Any certificate of registration issued pursuant to this chapter is a revocable privilege, and no holder of such a certificate of registration acquires thereby any vested right.  (Added to NRS by 1987, 1157; A 1995, 89; 2005, 1986)

Governing Structure, Administration and Fees

NRS 625A.030 creates the Board of Registered Environmental Health Specialists consisting of the Chief Medical Officer or designated representative and four members appointed by the Governor.  Of the members appointed by the Governor:

  • Two (2) members must represent the public; and
  • Two (2) members must be environmental health specialists;
    • one (1) employed by the Southern Nevada Health district; and
    • one (1) employed by the Washoe County health district.

Originally, the Board’s administration was conducted by the members, with administrative support provided by a part-time contract employee, when available.  The Board did not have a physical location or permanent staff.

In September 2015, the Board entered into a co-location and cost sharing agreement with the Board of Occupational Therapy to establish a physical location and administrative office and contracted for a part-time Executive Director to manage the board’s administration.

The Board is funded solely from registration fees and does not receive funding from the state general fund.  Registration fee amounts were established in 1987 and have not been revised or increased since 1987.  The Board fees with comparison to surrounding states has been provided.

The Board operates on an annual budget / revenue basis of approximately $ 31,000.  Cash balance available at June 30, 2017 was $40,172 classified as “fund balance” or reserve.  The majority of fees are received in December which cover the Board’s operating expenses for the calendar year; there is a small reserve amount in excess of budgeted expenses.

Registration Terms, Renewal Cycles

Registrations are issued for a term of one (1) year.  Prior to 7/1/17 all registrations expired on December 31st of each year.  Effective July 1, 2017, new registrations expire one year from date of issuance.  This change was made to ensure the registrant receives a full year registration prior to expiration and to facilitate cash flow for board operations.

Proposal for Statutory Revisions / Updates and Revisions to NRS 625A

Beginning in 2016, the Board undertook the task of reviewing and revising the Board regulations NAC 625A, resulting in the adoption of LCB File No’s. R049-16 and R017-17, the first updates since 2007.  During the review, it was determined the Board law NRS 625A was lacking in conformity with legislative and administrative requirements for Boards and did not reflect the evolutionary changes in the field of environmental health on the state and national levels.

A Board work session was held, followed by a public workshop engaging stakeholders to participate in the review and revision of the proposed bill draft language.  The proposed Bill Draft Request language, incorporating input from all stakeholders, will be submitted at the 2019 Legislative Session for approval.