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Your Health – Your Environment Blog

A blog to increase public knowledge about environmental health by sharing our concerns and our work as well as information you can use in your daily life.

ATSDR Investigates Superfund Sites

Categories: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Health Investigations, Toxic Substances

Barrels of Hazardous Waste

Whether it’s lead, cadmium, or zinc at a mining company in Oklahoma, tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene at the Kittatinny Limestone Aquifer in New Jersey, or perchlorates in Tierra Verde Lake in Arizona, ATSDR examines health effects of toxic substances on people who live and work on and around Superfund sites.

As Mark Johnson, the regional director of ATSDR’s Chicago Office—stated, “Our work at Superfund sites involves

Martin Luther King Jr. and Environmental Justice: A Leader Ahead of His Time

Categories: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), National Center for Environmental Health

MLKing March

Every year we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his work toward social justice, civil liberties, and equal rights for all. His actions, including civil disobedience and passive resistance, led to widely known legal achievements such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Might these actions also include recognition of health as a human right and thus point to Dr. King as one of the earliest leaders of what we now call environmental justice?

Tracking Program Maps Radon Exposure in Washington State

Categories: Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Toxic Substances

Radon Test Results in Washington State

Radon Test Results in Washington State

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon causes about 20,000 cases of lung cancer each year, making it the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Radon can seep up from the ground and become trapped in buildings. The EPA recommends taking action to reduce radon in buildings that have a radon level at or above 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. Testing is the only way to know if radon levels are high in your home or office.

GRASP Supports CDC Ebola Response

Categories: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences, Voices from the Field

west-africa-outbreak

The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history— affecting multiple countries in West Africa and leaving death, despair, and devastation in its wake. Scores of professionals from around the world, including CDC staff and volunteers, are working tirelessly to stop the virus in its tracks and save lives.

A Year in Review: 2014

Categories: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Biomonitoring, Division of Laboratory Sciences, Emergency and Environmental Health Services, Health Investigations, International Environmental Health, Meet the Scientist Blog Series, National Center for Environmental Health, Toxic Substances, Voices from the Field

Mississippi River in the Great Lakes region

Arizona, BPA, arsenic, Haiti, American Indian/Alaskan Native Tribes, mercury, foodborne illness, Palau, epidemiology, contaminated water. What do these seemingly random items have in common? They all appeared in “Your Health, Your Environment” blog posts about NCEH/ATSDR staff in 2014.

Our “Meet the Scientist” and “Voices from the Field” series aim to put a face on our environmental health work. They provide insight into the activities of the talented people who work to keep you safe from things in the environment that threaten your health. In the “Voices from the Field” blog series, NCEH/ATSDR staff tell us about their work in communities, states, tribal territories, and even other countries.

We hope to help readers see scientists as real people who work on real environmental health issues every day. In case you missed some posts in these series, take a look at this list and click on the links to catch up.

Top 10 NCEH/ATSDR “Your Health, Your Environment” Blog Posts of 2014

Categories: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Biomonitoring, Division of Laboratory Sciences, Emergency and Environmental Health Services, Emergency Preparedness, Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, Health Investigations, International Environmental Health, Meet the Scientist Blog Series, National Center for Environmental Health, Severe Weather, Sharing Our Stories, Toxic Substances, Voices from the Field

Top 10

As this year draws to a close, perhaps you’ve realized you didn’t get a chance to read all of the “Your Health, Your Environment” blog posts. To help get you into full catch-up mode,
here are the ten most popular posts of 2014:

  1. Staggering Numbers: Do You Know the Disease?
  2. Are We Getting Enough Vitamins and Nutrients?
  3. Community Health Education and Outreach in Texas
  4. What is Environmental Public Health?

CDC’s Tracking Network in Action

Categories: Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health

Tracking

CDC’s Tracking Network continues to develop new and innovative tools to make
environmental and health connections easier to understand.

Earlier this year, CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Program’s “Tracking in Action” video series won the NCEH “Excellence in Communications” award for setting itself apart from other communications products with its high-caliber production quality

NCEH Designs Criteria for Obtaining Sustainable Community Status

Categories: Emergency and Environmental Health Services, National Center for Environmental Health

Musicians perform in downtown Northampton, Massachusetts as part of the city's annual Jazz Festival. Northampton is recognized as a 5-Star sustainable community for its mix of healthy environment, strong economy and concern for its residents.

Musicians perform in downtown Northampton, Massachusetts as part of the city’s annual Jazz Festival. Northampton is recognized as a 5-Star sustainable community for its mix of healthy environment, strong economy and concern for its residents.

In a perfect world, every community will be a utopia. Can you picture it?

Imagine a place where residents have plenty of peace and quiet, educational offerings, arts and cultural centers, jobs in a robust economy, civil engagement and participation, recreational offerings, and plenty of green space.

Residents will breathe fresh air, drink clean water, eat affordable and healthy foods, and live in safe and affordable housing. Everyone will have access to public transportation or be able to walk or bike to school or work. It’s a community about which some people dream.

Sustainable communities don’t have to be unreachable fantasies.

Native American Heritage Month

Categories: Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Voices from the Field

Tracking Environmental Health Data about Native Americans

“Data” is a buzzword in public health, but what does the word mean for the rest of us? Gathering data may sound like a snooze to non-scientists, but it is actually the beginning of scientific investigation. Whenever scientists and doctors are searching for the cause of a disease outbreak, data are the facts and statistics that help them find the answer.

Who Needs Data– and Why?

tracking network

Data are also essential for making decisions about actions affecting public health. They help epidemiologists (disease detectives) identify people with health problems. Data on soil, air, and water quality help them learn if environmental issues could be one of the factors contributing to those health problems. In fact, all exciting scientific investigations begin with what may seem like the tedious task of deciding what data to collect and how to collect it.

The NCEH Environmental Public Health Tracking Branch is all about data.

Woman’s Worry Prompts CDC/ATSDR Outreach on Testing Private Wells

Categories: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Health Investigations, Toxic Substances, Voices from the Field

In the “Voices from the Field” blog series, NCEH and ATSDR staff tell us about their work in communities, states, tribal territories, and even other countries. Read about how ATSDR Region 9 employees Ben Gerhardstein and Jamie Rayman discovered a critical need for accurate information in an Arizona community and created educational materials that everyone can use.

Thinkstock Image

What if you learned that your well water was contaminated with a dangerous chemical? Where would you go for valid scientific information about your family’s health risks? How could you find out what to do next?

At a 2013 public meeting in Arizona mining country, ATSDR region 9 staff members Ben Gerhardstein and Jamie Rayman met a mother who wept as she told about her family’s experience with contaminated well water. Her family and many others in rural Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona, use private groundwater wells for their drinking water. She had recently learned that her family had been drinking water from a well with arsenic levels above what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe.

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