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What's New on the Tracking Network

Tracking Branch's First MMWR Released

Heat Stress Illness Hospitalizations — Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, 20 States, 2001–2010. MMWR Surveillance Summaries/Vol. 63/ No. 13. 

For the first time, ten years of heat stress illness (HSI) hospitalizations data from Tracking states have been analyzed and reported to highlight trends over time.   Data were used from 20 of the 25 tracking grantee states: California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.   Major findings:

  • Between 2001 and 2010, the 20 Tracking Program grantee states included in this report had
    • about 28,000 HSI hospitalizations.
    • an overall 2%–5% increase in the rate of HSI hospitalizations compared with the 2001 rate.
    • a relatively strong positive correlation between the number of HSI hospitalizations and the average monthly maximum temperature/heat index.
  • The majority of HSI hospitalizations occurred among males and persons aged 65 years and older.
  • The highest rates of hospitalizations were in the Midwest and the South.

  Public health agencies can use HSI hospitalizations data to estimate trends over time and to design targeted interventions to reduce heat stress illnesses among at-risk populations.

Mortality Benefit Estimates

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease in the United States. While CAD is largely related to lifestyle habits such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, and smoking, it is also the most common heart problem related to exposure to fine particles in air (PM2.5 ) over a long period of time. Mortality benefit estimates associated with reducing PM2.5 are now available for Coronary Artery Disease as well as deaths from all causes. This new health impact assessment tool can help identify areas where interventions to reduce air pollution could result in meaningful health improvements.

30 Years of Weather Data

Now when you search Climate Change data, you will find over 30 years (1979-2011) of weather data on extreme heat days and events and temperature distribution. The extreme heat days and events data allow you to look at temperature, heat index, and number of days to define extremely hot days and extreme heat events. And, the temperature distribution data allow you to look at daily temperature and heat index by county.

Cancer Data

Cancers related to tobacco smoking are also now available on the Tracking Network. The newly added cancers include:

  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Larynx Cancer
  • Oral Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer

New Data Additions Added This Spring

This Spring, CDC released 60 new measures in some exciting new data additions on the Tracking Network. You can search through these new data measures available in the query page.

  • Air Toxics –4 measures of air toxics data in the Outdoor Air section include benzene and formaldehyde, major contributors to cancer risk nationwide.
  • Asthma –3 new measures from emergency department visits for asthma are now available.
  • Blood Lead Levels –4 new measures of blood lead level are now available on the Childhood Lead Poisoning Section.
  • Climate Change – 6 new measures for hospitalizations and emergency department visits from heat stress are now available.
  • Community Water –30 new measures and 6 new contaminant profiles are live in the Community Water section of the Tracking Network. 90% of the U.S. population gets its water from a community water source, and these data can help you understand how the most common contaminants affect different areas of the country. Newly developed "point maps" show greater detail for yearly mean concentrations of all 9 contaminants on the Tracking Network.

Communication Toolkits

You can now access new Communication Toolkits for carbon monoxide, heart health, and women's health. You can also find updated toolkits for birth defects, asthma, and climate change.

Blogger Resources

To address the expanding visibility and influence of blog sites, the Tracking Network added a Blogger Resources section. Materials for bloggers include easy-to-use motion maps, infographics, informational videos, and social media connections.

New Training Page

The Tracking Network's new Training page includes the Tracking in Action training with real-life examples, collaboration with, and link to the New Features Demonstration Video highlighting new interactive features of the Tracking Program data search function.

Birth Defects: A Communication Toolkit

CDC has developed a new Birth Defects Toolkit It includes a variety of communication pieces including key messages and talking points, a fact sheet, a matte article, and some sample social media posts. Check out our Feature, Birth Defects and the Environment to see how we used the matte article and visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitterto see the social media pieces in action.