FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
August 23, 2010 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – In continuing efforts to protect the health of the people of Connecticut from environmental hazards, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) announced today the launch of its Environmental Public Health Tracking Network. The Connecticut Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (CT EPHTN) 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 we know about the environment’s impact on health.
For the first time, the public can access critical environmental health information that will help them make informed decisions and take action to protect themselves and their families. The CT EPHTN website, available online at http://dphepht.ct.gov, allows users to get data on various environmental and health topics and break down the data by population, age, and even county. For example, users can look at how many days in a year a county exceeded the ozone standard for air quality or the number of hospitalizations related to asthma for a certain age group by county. Some of the environmental and health topics on the site include:
· Air quality
· Water Quality
· Childhood Lead Poisoning
· Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
· Birth Defects
· Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
“In the face of emerging issues, such as the rising rate of asthma in children, protecting our state’s health from the environment is a top priority,” said Commissioner J. Robert Galvin. “The tracking network is a major step forward. It will help us identify threats to our state’s health posed by the environment and improve how we deal with those threats.”
A dynamic web-based system, the CT EPHTN tracks key environmental hazards and health problems across Connecticut. It will improve our understanding of the potential links between the environment and disease and will ultimately help set public health policy to prevent or reduce environmental-related diseases.
Connecticut is one of 23 state and local health departments to receive funding from CDC to help improve what we know about the environment’s effect on health by building state tracking networks and conducting pilot projects that link environmental hazards and health effects.
Until now, there has been a fundamental gap in our nation’s knowledge of how the environment affects health. For example, chronic disease accounts for 70 percent of deaths in the United States. While links between certain chronic diseases and the environment have been reported, many of these connections remain unclear. With Connecticut’s participation, CDC’s environmental public health tracking efforts are closing this gap. Timely, integrated environmental and health data at the federal, state and local levels via the national and state tracking networks will provide a basis for early notification of pending environmental events.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.