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Preemption and Public Health

What it is, how it works, and why it matters for public health

Legal Memo
Good Governance

The legal term preemption describes the invalidation of state law by federal law, or local law by state law.

It has profound significance for public health, affecting everything from the quality of medical devices to the extent of tobacco advertising, from the presence of air bags in cars to the disclosure of ingredients in pesticides.

Non-lawyers and public health professionals need a basic working knowledge of preemption: what it is, how it works, and why its consequences are so important to keep in mind when formulating legislation. Get started with our fact sheet about preemption to learn more and feel confident participating in policy discussions and negotiations.  

Want to read more about preemption? Check out Understanding Preemption, our fact sheet series about preemption and policy.