Welcome to the Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health Research

The Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health Research (CEOHR) is a prestigious research centre within the School of Public Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town. The Centre is one of three research centres established in the School of Public Health which has members from the Divisions of Environmental Health, Occupational Medicine, and Public Health Medicine. Together, these divisions and the SARChI Chair in Global Environmental Health contribute substantially to the field of environmental health and occupational health research. The centre is universally known for its work on occupational and environmental allergens and asthma, pesticides and endocrine disruption, hazardous chemicals, climate change research, risk communication and translational research, and occupational and environmental health systems research.

Historical overview

CEOHR has been a University of Cape Town recognised research centre / unit since 1994. Between 2001 and 2005 the CEOHR was a recognised MRC research entity. And from 2005-2014, it was a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health. The centre has for some years arguably concentrated the most substantial concentration of skills in clinical occupational medicine and occupational and environmental epidemiology research in the country. The South Africa Swiss Bilateral Research Chair in Global Environmental Health, awarded to Professor Dalvie in 2015 has also contributed considerably to generating evidence, building capacity, and strengthening the field of environmental epidemiology. Further, CEOHR has been contributing towards improving global health with recent example including the contribution of members towards the development of various workplace policies that were aimed towards reducing hazardous exposure, prevention of spread of COVID-19 infection during the pandemic, as well as climate change resilience projects. 

Vision and Mission

The stated vision of the CEOHR is to work towards a world where all people enjoy the right to health and a healthy environment both in the workplace and beyond. We do so based on our commitment to scientific rigour, equity, and justice in all its forms.

Our mission is to achieve this vision by:

  • Conducting high-quality, innovative research that is locally and globally relevant to occupational and environmental risk factors and their impact on human health;
  • Translating research into evidence-based policies, interventions and activities that support the protection and empowerment of populations most at risk of environmental and occupational hazards;
  • Exploring approaches to promoting the health and wellbeing of people in the workplace;
  • Applying our research and advocating for the right of all people to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications; and
  • Nurturing the development of engaged scientists committed to the centre’s vision.

1. Research Focus

Focus areas


Occupational and environmental allergens and asthma

Exposure assessment for allergens (occupational and environmental), endotoxins and mycotoxins*

Occupational allergies and asthma phenotypes in working populations exposed to high (e.g., seafood and other plant proteins) and low molecular weight sensitisers (e.g., wood workers), environmental risk factors and exposure-response modelling techniques*

Asthma associated with chemical pollutants and

pollen/fungal spore exposures in school children living in informal settlements and on farms*

Interventions and surveillance methods for work-related asthma*

Allergens and dermatitis

Contact dermatitis and risk factors for disease onset*

Atopic dermatitis in children and environmental risk factors

Pesticides and endocrine disruption

Pesticide exposure characterisation & biomonitoring*

Pesticide residues in food and environmental media*

Pesticides and emergent black farmers

Child pesticide poisoning in the urban informal sector*

Pesticides, endocrine disruption, respiratory allergy and asthma, reproductive health and neurobehaviour*

Pesticide neurotoxicity/suicide*

Pesticides and asthma in rural and urban settings*

Gene environmental interactions and health effects due to pesticides *

Highly hazardous pesticides classification and risk reduction

Health and risk communication interventions for low literate workers and lay populations (e.g., pesticides, hazardous chemicals and climate change)*

Pest and pesticide risk management approaches including alternatives for urban poor

Follow up of children affected by the Cornubia pesticide fire for neurodevelopmental and genotoxic effects*

Assessment of impact and scale of street pesticide use in poor urban communities*

Mining, metals, air pollution and environmental pollution

Biological and environmental exposures for environmental and occupational chemicals - quantitative, semi-quantitative and qualitative

Air pollution exposure assessment and modelling*

Health risk due to emissions from waste burning*

Silica, silicosis, and tuberculosis

Public health impacts of mining: migrant labour; informal mining, mine dust exposure and community health

Toxic Metals: Manganese, hexavalent chromium, Arsenic, Copper, Mercury*

Cardiopulmonary effects due to outdoor and indoor chemical and biological air pollutants*

Health risks due to emerging water pollutants*

Monitoring of air quality using remote sensing for public health applications*

Public health issues with a strong OEH interface

Tuberculosis HI, neurotoxicity and the workplace

Occupational TB in health care workers

Occupational mental health in frontline workers*

Work-related COVID-19; COVID-19 geo-spatial spread, pandemic preparedness for workplaces*

Injury – severity measurement

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome burden and prevention; toxins in cheap wine*

Western Cape Provincial Burden of Disease

Alcohol and Public Health*

Upstream interventions to reduce interpersonal violence – including urban upgrading and alcohol policy

Occupational health and safety in aquaculture*

Competencies of vector control workers in SA*

Occupational and Environmental Health Systems Research

Policy analysis of hazardous chemicals nationally, regionally and internationally*

Ethics and human rights in Occupational and Environmental Health Policy*

Occupational Health systems research

Educational and training research in OEH (undergraduate and postgraduate health science education and research)

Mechanisms for domestic sustainable financing of chemicals and waste*

Role of environmental health practitioners in risk reduction and prevention*

Commercial determinants of environmental health (e.g., chemical and pesticide industry)*

Earth observation for exposome mapping of environmental factors related to NCDs in South Africa*

Risk Communication / Translational Research

Translating OEH research findings for policymakers and the public through various tools (e.g., policy briefs, infographics, factsheets) *

Climate Change and Health

Energy uses and the Health Sector

Climate change and implications for endocrine disrupting chemicals

Climate change, heat and workers*

Climate change, air quality, asthma and cardiovascular effects*

Climate change and violence

Climate change and food security

Climate change and children/adolescent health (e.g., climate anxiety, nutrition)*

Extreme weather events and health*

Climate change and chemicals*

Sustainable healthcare education and planetary health*

Noise and EMF Exposure

Exposure assessment of noise and EMF exposure*

Health effects due to noise and EMF exposure*

Chemicals and health risks

Skin lightening products and women’s exposure risks*

Chemicals (e.g., lead) in lipsticks*

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals in personal care products

Endocrine disrupting chemicals, environmental pollution and health effects*

One Health and environmental health

Various aspects of environmental health risks within One Health*

2. Research collaboration and networking

Researchers in the CEOHR have collaborated extensively with partners within the university, regionally, nationally, and internationally in the fulfilment of their research agenda. A few examples of such collaborations include: 

Within UCT

  • Radiology
  • Paediatrics and Child health
  • Human genetics, Endocrinology
  • Orthopaedic surgery and Forensic Medicine and Toxicology
  •  Chemical Engineering and the Future Waters Research Institute.

Regional collaboration

  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences
  • Office of the Premier and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
  • Climate and Energy Special Interest Group (SIG)
  • Public Health Association of South
  • Gun-free SA
  • Unpoison

International collaboration

  • United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP)
  • World Health Organization (Africa Office

Members of the CEOHR are all engaged in activities that reflect their commitment to social responsiveness and translating research into practice. This involves technical support to the government as well as partnerships with NGOs to improve the occupational and environmental health of communities.

Outlined below are the broad areas of social responsiveness that members engage in classified into themes:

  • Occupational lung diseases in mineworkers  
  • OHS of public sector health care workers      
  • Occupational allergens and asthma  
  • Occupational Medicine and OHS Policy formulation
  • Environmental pollutants and health impacts          
  • Community engagement, policy development and networking       
  • Violence and Injury prevention          
  • Agricultural sector research   
  • Ethical practice in Occupational and Environmental Health 
  • Waste Management
  1. Postgraduate programmes
  1. Funding opportunities

There are several funding opportunities available for young researchers on merit qualifications within and outside the School of Public Health. Funding opportunities available include but not limited to Departmental bursary, NRF postgraduate funding, and International and Refugee Student Award. Admission applicants are advised to visit the UCT postgraduate funding page for the full list of available funding opportunities.


Shahieda Adams, Associate Professor and Director





Email:  Shahieda.Adams@uct.ac.za

Phone:  021 406 6435



A/ Prof Shahieda Adams is Director of the CEOHR and Head of the Occupational Medicine clinic at Groote Schuur Hospital where she provides diagnostic and clinical services in occupational medicine to the public. The clinic has a focus on the diagnosis and management of occupational diseases and services workers from diverse workplaces, assisting with statutory reporting of occupational diseases and facilitating access to compensation for workers. Through the Division of Occupational Medicine’s ECHO program, she plays a key role in developing capacity in Occupational Medicine expertise for Africa. A further initiative in this regard involves a partnership with NEPAD-AUDA to train African doctors in the radiological classification of occupational lung diseases. Professor Adams’s policy and technical work have been grounded in protecting the health of staff and she is active in the field of policy development mainly geared at managing the risk posed by biological hazards in the workplace (TB, COVID, and Hepatitis B).

Her research interests include:

  • Occupational health of Health workers
  • Mental health in the workplace
  • Impairment and disability assessment
  • Mining exposures and respiratory health

Aqiel Dalvie, Professor and Deputy Director

Aqiel Dalvie







Email:  Aqiel.Dalvie@uct.ac.za

Phone:  021 406 6610


Professor Aqiel Dalvie is the former director and current deputy director of the CEOHR. He is also currently the SA/Swiss Bilateral SARChI Chair in Global Environmental Health. Professor Dalvie’s research is focused on the effect of environmental pollution on the health of environmentally marginalised and poor communities including vulnerable groups such as children and women. His works include regular research consultancies that have been completed for governments, industries, and other stakeholders in response to concerns by the community. This has included participation in national workshops to address environmental pollution. He also teaches environmental and occupational health courses at the School of Public Health and Family Medicine.

His current research interests include:

  • Health effects due to endocrine-disrupting compounds, especially pesticides
  • Air and water pollution,
  • Climate change
  • Asthma
  • Toxic metals and exposure assessment.

Mohamed Jeebhay, Professor and Head of Division: Occupational Medicine

Mohamed Jeebhay

Email:  Mohamed.Jeebhay@uct.ac.za

Phone:  021 406 6309


Professor Mohammed Jeebhay is an Occupational Medicine Specialist and Head of the Division of Occupational Medicine. He is a member of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa. He serves on the board of the Environmental and Occupational Allergy Group of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and was its immediate past chair (2019-2022). His completed works include an investigation of occupational allergy and asthma among seafood processing workers; an intervention study of baker’s allergy and asthma in supermarket bakeries; studies on the risk factors associated with work-related asthma among dental health care workers and pesticide applicators; asthma associated with cleaning agents among South African and Tanzanian health care workers; and work-related exposures and asthma in Mozambiquan wood-processing workers. Currently, he is engaged in studies on childhood asthma associated with air pollution, pollen, and pesticide exposures in the context of climate change in South Africa. Furthermore, he is currently supervising a doctoral research on project examining aquaculture occupational health and safety in Tanzanian seaweed harvesting workers, and another project on work-related factors associated with COVID-19 in South African workers employed in the clothing and textile industry. 

His research areas include:  

  • Occupational and environmental allergens and asthma 
  • Exposure assessment for allergens (occupational and environmental), endotoxins and mycotoxins 
  • Occupational allergies and asthma phenotypes in working populations exposed to high (e.g., seafood and other plant proteins) and low molecular weight sensitizers (e.g., woodworkers), environmental risk factors and exposure-response modelling techniques 
  • Asthma associated with chemical pollutants and pollen/fungal spore exposures in school children living in informal settlements and on farms 
  • Interventions and surveillance methods for work-related asthma 
  • Pesticides, endocrine disruption, respiratory allergy and asthma
  • Contact dermatitis and risk factors for disease onset 
  • Work-related COVID-19 in non-healthcare settings, occupational risk factors and pandemic preparedness for workplaces 

Leslie London, Professor and Head of Division: Public Health Medicine







Email:  Leslie.London@uct.ac.za

Phone:  021 406 6524



Professor Leslie London is a specialist in Public Health Medicine with a sub-specialisation in Occupational Medicine. His research and teaching focuses on environmental health policy and the health of vulnerable working populations and communities and primarily addresses health risks related to pesticides and neurotoxic chemicals. His work with civil society groups, including the NGO Women on Farms that takes up issues of occupational health of women farm workers, the DOPSTOP project, addressing alcohol abuse amongst farm workers linked to the legacy of the Dop system, and Unpoison, a civil society network advocating for human and environmental safety related to pesticides, is geared to protecting vulnerable groups. He is also the Head of the Division of Public Health Medicine (since 2013) and Head of the Human Rights programme and active in Civil Society advocacy for health rights. He has received numerous awards including the UCT Alan Pifer Award, the 2021 UCT Social Responsiveness Award, the PHILA Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Health, and the Leslie Nicols award from the American Public Health Association in 2023. He also is an elected fellow of the Collegium Rammazzini.

His research interests include:  

  • Risk assessment of the population exposed to toxic releases from pesticide fire at Cornubia.  
  • Pesticide neurotoxicity/suicide 
  • Environmental and Occupational health consequence of major disasters 
  • Conflict of interest in public health 
  • Neurodevelopmental impacts of chemical toxins.  
  • Gene-environment interaction and suicide risk. 
  • Ethics and human rights in Occupational and Environmental Health Policy 
  • Alcohol and Public Health

Andrea Rother, Professor and Head of Division: Evironmental Health

Andrea Rother

Email:  Andrea.Rother@uct.ac.za

Phone:  021 406 6721



Professor Hanna-Andrea Rother is the Head of the Environmental Health Division since 2014. She was the previous Deputy Director of CEOHR from 2015 to 2020.  She is an environmental health specialist, particularly in chemicals and climate change. Her undergraduate teaching and curriculum development focuses on integrating environmental health into the medical curriculum so that future health professionals can diagnose, treat, and prevent the increase in environmental-related diseases, including climate-sensitive diseases. She has conceptualized and led the development of three academic programs at the postgraduate level, particularly for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) contexts. These include the postgraduate diploma in Pesticide Risk Management (commenced in 2011; online), the Professional Masters in Chemical Risk Management (commenced in 2022; online) and the Environmental Health Track in the Master of Public Health programme (commenced in 2017; face-to-face). She is currently facilitating several research and capacity-building projects with United Nations, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Centre for Pesticide Suicide Prevention in projects. These include developing and running six industrial chemicals and pesticide online Communities of Practices.  

 Her research and projects include:   

  • Highly hazardous pesticides classification and risk reduction 
  • Health and risk communication interventions for low literate workers and lay populations (e.g., pesticides, hazardous chemicals and climate change) 
  • Assessment of impact and scale of street pesticide use in poor urban communities 
  • Policy analysis of hazardous chemicals nationally, regionally, and internationationally 
  • Mechanisms for domestic sustainable financing of chemicals and waste 
  • Role of environmental health practitioners in risk reduction and prevention 
  • Commercial determinants of environmental health (e.g., chemical and pesticide industry) 
  • Translating OEH research findings for policymakers and the public through various tools (e.g., policy briefs, infographics, factsheets) 
  • Climate change, heat, and workers 
  • Climate change and children/adolescent health (e.g., climate anxiety, nutrition) 
  • Extreme weather events and health  
  • Climate change and chemicals (including flooding events)
  • Sustainable healthcare education and planetary health

Roslynn Baatjies, Senior Lecturer:  Occupational Medicine Division





Email:  roslynn.baatjies@uct.ac.za

Phone:  021 406 6665



Dr Roslynn Baatjies is a Senior Lecturer and Research Project Coordinator at the Division of Occupational Medicine. Dr Baatjies has an MTech in Environmental Health CPUT, Masters in Public Health (Occupational Hygiene) Wits and Masters in Public Health (Epidemiology and Biostatistics – completed coursework and upgraded to PhD) UCT. She is a member of the Health Professions Council of South Africa. She is a core collaborator with NRF Research Chair in Global Environmental Health. Also, She is a member of the Project Technical Committee: Human Health Risk Assessment at the Department of Environmental Affairs.

Her research interests include:

  • Occupational Allergy and asthma in various industries – baking, wood, spice, healthcare etc
  • Exposure assessment
  • Exposure-response relationships

Meryl Jagarnath, nGap Lecturer:  Environmental Health Division

Meryl Jagarnath

Email: meryl.jagarnath@uct.ac.za



Dr Meryl Jagarnath is a lecturer at the Division of Environmental Health and part of the New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP). Meryl’s interest and expertise lie in studying the impacts of environmental hazards on the health of people particularly the use of spatial data and analysis in public and environmental health. Her research on planning for climate change in Durban focused on the impacts of heat stress on the city and its population, and how spatial planning could help in the mitigation of and adaptation to those risks. Thereafter, she spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southampton researching climate change risk and vulnerability mapping in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.  

Her research interests include: 

  • Using Geographic Information Systems(GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) for public health and spatial epidemiology including air pollution and pesticide exposure.  
  • Heat stress risk and vulnerability and climate change adaptation 
  • Greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions inventory for climate change mitigation 
  • Land use change modelling 
  • Urban planning to improve public health

Itumeleng Ntatamala, Senior Lecturer:  Occupational Medicine Division

Itumeleng Ntatamala

Email: itumeleng.ntatamala@uct.ac.za

Phone: 021 406 6719



Dr Itumeleng Ntatamala is a Senior Lecturer and Occupational Medicine Specialist Consultant. He has worked consistently to strengthen strategic partnerships between the CEOHR and external stakeholders. He regularly provides occupational medicine expertise through presentations, radio and television interviews and social media to community stakeholders and trade unions/civil society organizations to advocate for the health and safety of workers and marginal groups. These stakeholders include the Department of Health in the Western Cape and Limpopo Province, Community Health Worker Organisations, Department of Employment and Labour Inspectors and High School educators/teachers. He regularly participates in evidence-based policy development, channelling research findings into OHS policy development processes to enhance impact. He is currently a Board Member of Groote Schuur Hospital responsible for community engagement initiatives.

 His research interests include:

  • Hazardous biological agents in small and medium-sized enterprises (COVID-19)
  • Pandemic preparedness in non-healthcare workplace settings
  • Occupational health of health workers
  • Mental health in the workplace
  • Health professions education, decolonising curriculum, research integrity, and use of race in research

Rodney Ehrlich, Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scholar

Rodney Ehrlich

Email: rodney.ehrlich@uct.ac.za 


Professor Emeritus Rodney Ehrlich is Senior Research Scholar in the Division of Occupational Medicine.  In his career as a clinician, researcher, teacher, and mentor, he has made significant contributions to the fields of Public Health and Occupational Medicine.  He has served as Head of the School of Public Health Medicine and of the Division of Occupational Medicine at UCT, and Director of the Occupational Medicine Clinic at Groote Schuur Hospital. He established the MPH programme at UCT,  co-edited  widely use textbook on epidemiology for South Africa, and served as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.  He has long been involved with the health of miners and  ex-miners from the South African mines, who with their high burden of lung disease (silicosis, tuberculosis and HIV) and poor socioeconomic status are one of the most disadvantaged and neglected populations in the region. Current ex-miner projects in South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini are aimed at improving access to medical examination and care for occupational lung disease and social security for these populations.  He is a past Gruber Fellow in Global Justice at Yale University, a member of the Collegium Ramazzini, and most recently an Oppenheimer Exchange Scholar at Trinity College, Oxford, where he worked on developing models for protecting health care workers from infectious respiratory hazards.

 His current research areas include:  

  • Clinical management and prevention of silico-tuberculosis globally
  • Epidemiology of occupational lung disease in ex-miners
  • Health service models for screening, referral, and medicolegal assessment of ex-miners with lung disease
  • Computer aided detection of radiological lung disease, particularly silicosis and tuberculosis in miners and tuberculosis in health care workers
  • Occupational health systems for management of air quality in health care facilities and protection of staff and patients from transmission of respiratory infection

Richard Matzopoulos, Honorary Professor

Richard M

Email: richard.matzopoulos@uct.ac.za

Phone: 021 938 0305


MRC Burden of Disease Research Unit

Professor Richard Matzopoulos is an honorary professor at the School of Public Health. Professor Matzopoulos has contributed to numerous policy papers on injury and violence reduction, such as, the Western Cape Alcohol-reduction Harms Reduction Policy (2017). He has also contributed comments on national (e.g. National Liquor Bill, Firearms Control Bill) and Provincial (e.g., Liquor Act of 2008) legislation. His contributions have been international – serving as the South African focal point for the Violence Prevention Alliance affiliated to the World Health Organisation and he has served as technical advisor to WHO and UNICEF on several projects. He has strong NGO links in the field, serving on the board of Gun Free South Africa and formerly on the Board of ComaCare. At UCT, he is a founding member and serves on the interim Steering Committee of the Trauma Advocacy Group within the Faculty of Health Sciences. He is currently the Director of the South African Medical Research Council’s Burden of Disease Research Unit.

His research areas include:

  • Strong public engagement through local stakeholder forums and participating in community presentations
  • Production of infographics for community engagement around alcohol and public engagement



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