Environmental causes of chronic diseases are hard to identify. Measuring amounts of hazardous substances in our environment in a standard way, tracing the spread of these over time and area, seeing how they show up in human tissues, and understanding how they may cause illness is critical. The National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network is the start of that system.
While there are many ways to define environmental health, for the purposes of this website, it means how the environment might affect a person's health and how people might affect the health of the environment.
The environment is our air, our water, our food, and our surroundings. Tracking describes how we collect data, interpret it, and report it. We are acquiring data about hazards in the environment, if a person was exposed to one of them, and health problems that may be related to these exposures.
Different types of data are used to learn how the environment affects people's health. The Tracking Network provides information about the following types of data:
Environmental public health tracking is a type of surveillance. It is a way of incorporating data for analysis and reporting. CDC's National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network is a website that brings together data concerning some health and environmental problems. The goal of this network is to provide information to help improve where we live, work, and play.
The Tracking Network is part of CDC's National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program. The Tracking Program includes not only the Tracking Network but the people, resources, and program management involved in building this network. The Tracking Network is a discrete product of the Tracking Program. Learn more about the Tracking Program.
CDC provides funds to 23 state and local health departments to develop local tracking networks. These networks feed into the National Tracking Network.
Learn more about Tracking by taking this Tracking 101 online training. CE credits available.
Here you can learn more about some of concepts that are the foundation of the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network:
A Picture of America: Our Health and the Environment
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently developing its first report about health and the environment: A Picture of America: Our Health and Environment. This report is an introduction to the nation's public health status from an environmental health perspective.
The report will describe what public health professionals know now about the effects the environment has on a person's health, and where there are still gaps in our knowledge about this. The report will also present an overview of health outcomes and environmental trends and how they are measured. Finally, the report will discuss how individuals and communities can improve prevention activities that reduce environmental exposures and protect human health.
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