The Iowa Department of Health (IDPH) announces the launch of Iowa Public Health Tracking (IPHT). IPHT is a state of the art environmental and public health tracking program, 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.
“In the face of public health challenges including increases in chronic diseases and higher healthcare costs, tracking and understanding the potential impact of environmental conditions is a top priority,” said IDPH Environmental Health Division Director Ken Sharp. “The Iowa Public Health Tracking project is a major step forward in web-based surveillance. Iowa has worked hard to improve the health of our citizens - now it’s time to show our past success and track our continued progress.”
IPHT is a web-based system that tracks key environmental hazards and health problems statewide and in many instances, by county. The data will improve understanding of hazards and lead to actions that may prevent chronic illnesses. With IPHT, residents will be able to access both environmental data and health outcome data simultaneously, for example:
- Asthma, carbon monoxide, and heart attack hospitalization rates
- Air pollution trends for ozone and particulate matter
- Drinking water contaminants, such as arsenic, in public water systems
- Cancer rates
- Birth defect rates
- Childhood lead levels and the age of housing
Iowa is one of 23 states to receive funding from the CDC to build tracking networks and conduct pilot projects 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 percent of deaths in the United States. Links between certain chronic diseases and environmental hazards have been reported; however, whether there are additional connections remain unclear. With Iowa’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 Iowa IPHT, please visit www.idph.state.ia.us/EHS/EPHT.aspx. To visit the CDC’s National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, go to www.cdc.gov/ephtracking.