In 1978, the discovery of infertility among workers exposed to the pesticide DBCP alerted state legislators and the public to the need for improved research and training on injuries and occupational disease prevention in California. The following year, under a mandate from the California legislature, the University of California established occupational and environmental health centers in Northern and Southern California. The centers were established to train occupational health scientists and professionals, conduct research on occupational and environmental health issues, and provide services to the public, employers and workers in Southern California. The DBCP episode highlighted the necessity of utilizing the University of California's resources to meet the State's needs in occupational and environmental health.
There are two occupational and environmental health centers located in Southern California– one at UC Irvine and the other at UCLA. The UCI Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) is based in Orange County, an area currently experiencing an explosion of growth in population, business, and industry. This provides an ideal setting for the study and prevention of occupational and environmental exposures, diseases and injuries. UCI COEH is a campus-wide center with faculty and staff residing in multiple departments and schools.
The UCI COEH's mission is to improve occupational and environmental health in the region we serve. The Center extends its services to government, industry, schools, health professionals, and the general public. We strive to improve the region's awareness of occupational and environmental hazards and to prevent injury and disease.