The field of environmental health has been dominated by modeling associations, especially by regressing an observed outcome on a linear or nonlinear function of observed covariates. Readers interested in advances in policies for improving environmental health are, however, expecting to be informed about health effects resulting from, or more explicitly caused by, environmental exposures. The quantification of health impacts resulting from the removal of environmental exposures involves causal statements. Therefore, when possible, causal inference frameworks should be considered for analyzing the effects of environmental exposures on health outcomes.
Keywords: air pollution; causal inference; epidemiology; public health; statistical methods.