New Hampshire’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network Designed to Protect Residents’ Health
Concord, NH – As part of continuing efforts to protect the health of New Hampshire citizens and guests from environmental hazards, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Department of Environmental Services (DES) today announce the launching of the Environmental Health Data Integration Network (EHDIN). EHDIN is a first-of-its-kind environmental health tool and part of a national initiative led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to close the gap in what is known about the impact of environmental hazards on health.
This web-based system tracks key environmental hazards and health problems, such as air pollution and asthma as well as arsenic and bladder cancer, across New Hampshire. The data will improve understanding of such hazards and lead to actions that can prevent chronic illnesses.
“In the face of challenging issues such as increasing cancer rates and growing health care costs, tracking and understanding the impact of environmental conditions is a top priority,” said Dr. Jose Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “The Environmental Health Data Integration Network is a major step forward in web-based surveillance. We have worked hard to preserve an environment of clean air, pure water, and safe housing in our state – now its time to show our past success and track our continued progress. It may sound simple, but better health statistics really does mean better disease prevention.”
With EHDIN, residents will be able to access both environmental data and health outcome data simultaneously. This will help them make informed decisions and take action to protect themselves and their communities. On the website people can learn about environmental hazards and related health effects in New Hampshire and in their county, including:
Asthma and heart attack hospitalization rates for counties and the State
Air pollution trends for ozone and particulate matter
Drinking water contaminants, such as arsenic, in public water systems
Cancer rates for counties and the State as a whole
“Environmental hazards are one factor in the overall health equation. These data will be available for the public to use in conjunction with consideration of how certain lifestyle issues and genetic factors play a role in health outcomes,” said DES Commissioner Thomas Burack. “The launch of the new EHDIN system provides a new tool to help make existing data more accessible.”
New Hampshire is one of 16 states to receive funding from the CDC to build tracking networks and conduct pilot projects in order to improve our knowledge of potential links between environmental hazards and health effects.
There has been a fundamental gap in the country’s knowledge of how and the extent to which environmental hazards affect health. For example, chronic disease accounts for 70% of deaths in the United States. Links between certain chronic diseases and environmental hazards have been reported; however, whether there are additional causal connections remains unclear. With New Hampshire’s participation, CDC’s environmental public health tracking efforts are working to develop additional information to help determine the role of environmental hazards in health outcomes.
For more information and to access the New Hampshire EHDIN, please visit www.nh.gov/epht. To visit the national Tracking Network, go to www.cdc.gov/ephtracking.