Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is applied to infrastructure and other large projects. The European Union EIA Directive (2011/92/EU as amended by 2014/52/EU) requires EIAs to consider the effects that a project might have on human health. The International Association for Impact Assessment and the European Public Health Association prepared a reference paper on public health in EIA to enable the health sector to contribute to this international requirement. We present lessons from this joint action. We review literature on policy analysis, impact assessment and Health Impact Assessment (HIA). We use findings from this review and from the consultation on the reference paper to consider how population and human health should be defined; how the health sector can participate in the EIA process; the relationship between EIA and HIA; what counts as evidence; when an effect should be considered ‘likely’ and ‘significant’; how changes in health should be reported; the risks from a business-as-usual coverage of human health in EIA; and finally competencies for conducting an assessment of human health. This article is relevant for health authorities seeking to ensure that infrastructure, and other aspects of development, are not deleterious to, but indeed improve, human health.