A Internet-based tool that will enable members of the public, scientists and health professionals to track environmental exposures and chronic health conditions was unveiled Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Environmental Public Health Tracking Network offers environmental information from across the nation, including data on water and air pollutants, and details about chronic conditions such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, and childhood lead poisoning.
It's known that exposure to such things as lead and air particle pollution contribute to health problems, but many links between pollutants and illness can't be proven because detailed health and environmental data were kept separate until now, according to the CDC.
"The ability to examine many data sets together for the first time has already resulted in faster responses to environmental health issues. We believe the Tracking Network holds the potential to shed new light on some of our biggest environmental health questions," Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health, said in a news release.