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What's New on the Tracking Network

What’s New on the Tracking Network (March 2015) 

A new Acute Toxic Substances Releases module is now available. About 15,000 acute accidental or illegal releases of toxic substances occur in the United States every year. The potential for toxic substance exposure surrounds us at home, work, and school. The Acute Toxic Substances Releases data on the Tracking Network can be used to track toxic substance release incidents reported by state health departments and to monitor trends in acute toxic substance release incidents from various areas across the United States. The addition of these data to the Tracking Network allows for a better understanding of the causes of incidents and injures, which can help public health officials focus prevention efforts and prepare for future toxic substance emergencies. 

Data on Overweight and Obesity are also new to the Lifestyle Risk Factors module of the Tracking Network. Overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a certain height. More than one-third of adults in the United States are obese. These data will provide a better picture of potential link between overweight and obesity and environmental factors and will highlight populations in need of targeted interventions. 

Lastly, CDC has added data on Mortality from Heart Disease and Ischemic Heart Disease to the Tracking Network’s Heart Disease module. These data can be used to identify trends in deaths caused by ischemic heart disease or heart attacks.

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.