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16 Pages • Read Time 32 Minutes

Connections between water quality and health


Clean air and water, safe places to walk outside and access to healthy foods—conditions of our physical environment—all affect our health and well-being. However, not all Ohioans have equal access to healthy living conditions, including clean, uncontaminated water.

Through dedicated policy focus at the state, federal and local levels, Ohio has seen substantial improvement in the quality of its water. Still, there are challenges facing the state presently and in the future that could hinder progress without targeted focus. State and local policymakers have laid a strong foundation for Ohio to continue to address its challenges and set Ohio up as an example of environmental policy.

This policy brief focuses on the importance of clean water and the many effects that water pollution and deteriorating infrastructure can have on health throughout life, highlighting data and information for policymakers to improve Ohio’s water quality, including:

  • How poor water quality affects health
  • Which Ohioans are most affected by poor water quality
  • What Ohio has done to address water quality and additional steps the state can take

3 key findings for policymakers

  • Improving water quality, including a reduction in lead exposure, will lead to improved health for Ohioans.
  • There is a strong policy foundation for Ohio policymakers to build on to improve water quality, such as investments in H2Ohio, and guard against new challenges.
  • State and local policymakers have opportunities to improve water quality, such as increasing investment in water infrastructure, ecosystem restoration and evaluating the impact of industrial and commercial development.

More resources


This project was made possible through the generous support of the SC Ministry Foundation, which promotes the mission and ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, as well as HPIO’s core funders.


Robin Blair-Ackison, MPH

Lexi Chirakos, PhD

Tonni Oberly, PhD, MPH

Jacob Santiago, MSW

Anna Sheeran

Published On

March 19, 2024

Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. 3 key findings for policymakers
  3. More resources
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