For Immediate Release: April 2, 2012
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health today launched a new online resource that brings environmental and public health data together in one place.
Now available at www.healthvermont.gov/tracking, the Environmental Public Health Tracking portal is designed to help policymakers, health professionals, researchers, students, residents and anyone who is interested explore questions about links between our environment and health.
To date, the portal contains searchable data and information about the state’s air quality, asthma hospitalizations, birth defects, cancer, carbon monoxide poisoning, drinking water, heart attacks, lead poisoning and reproductive health. As part of the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network, Vermont’s portal also links to national data.
“Vermont has a reputation for having a healthy environment and a healthy population, but we are not immune to hazards that threaten public health, said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. “Tracking data are already helping us better understand how our environment affects health, and making it easier to identify and take action against true health threats. This is a great start in making information relevant to Vermonters easy to find and use – and we’ll continue to build on this.”
Mapping the state’s drinking water supply systems is one example of a Tracking project. Starting with the 33 largest public community water systems serving about 60 percent of the state’s population, Tracking staff will map each water system service area with E-911 addresses, and link these to water test results. Residents will ultimately be able to locate their house and view reports of drinking water quality from their water system operator.
The Health Department was awarded a $3.5 M grant from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in December 2009 to plan and build the statewide Tracking portal infrastructure and database. Data and expertise are drawn from the Health Department and the Agency of Natural Resources/Department of Environmental Conservation.
Join Tracking on Facebook – A new Facebook page created by the Health Department will also provide news, updates and information related to Vermont’s environmental public health tracking project: www.facebook.com/VermontTracking
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