NCEH State Fact Sheets: Connecticut
CDC 24/7: Saving Lives. Protecting People from Health Threats. Saving Money through Prevention.
Your environment is everything around you—the air you breathe, the water you drink, the community around you, the places where your food is grown or prepared, your workplace, and your home. When your environment is safe and healthy, you are more likely to stay healthy. But when your environment exposes you to dangerous events or toxic substances, your health can be affected negatively.
CDC is committed to saving lives and protecting people from environmental hazards by responding to natural and man-made disasters, supporting public health workers, educating communities, and providing scientific knowledge. We help maintain and improve the health of Americans by promoting a healthy environment and preventing premature death and avoidable illness caused by environmental and related factors. We also identify how people might be exposed to hazardous substances in the environment and assess exposures to determine if they are hazardous to human health. CDC invests in prevention to improve health and save money by reducing healthcare costs. We remain committed to maximizing the impact of every dollar entrusted to the agency.
In Connecticut, asthma is a growing problem for kids and adults. From 2000 to 2010, the number of adults with asthma rose by almost 18%.
Asthma is a common disease on the rise, with significant health disparities and associated healthcare costs. Nearly 1 in 12 Americans (26 million) have asthma. In the last decade, the proportion of people with asthma, grew by nearly 15%.
CDC has been working with states for more than 10 years to implement community-based interventions, build local coalitions, and track the impact of the disease on the U.S. population.
The program focuses on what works to control asthma: assessing and measuring changes in disease severity and control, using the right medications, educating people to manage their conditions, and controlling environmental irritants and allergens.
Even though the number of people with asthma has increased over the last 10 years, trends show that more are controlling their disease:
- 1.7 million fewer people had asthma attacks in 2009.
- 233,000 fewer asthma-related hospitalizations occurred in 2008, leading to $3.96 billion in savings in hospital bills.
- 1,400 fewer people died of asthma in 2007.
More than 12 million U.S. children are exposed to lead in their homes at levels that can harm their intellectual development. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified.
Reducing children’s lead exposure is perhaps the greatest environmental health accomplishment in the past 20 years.
For more than 20 years, CDC funded state and local health agencies to
- Support surveillance, training, and technical capacity to help identify children with dangerous exposure to lead.
- Connect these families and children to appropriate healthcare and case management.
- Inspect and remediate unsafe homes.
Children who are exposed to lead lose $3,000 to almost $8,000 in lifetime productivity for each 1 microgram per deciliter (μg/dL) increase in blood lead level. Blood lead levels over 1 μg/dL are associated with measurable reductions in IQ.
Between 2007–2008 and 2009–2010, interventions that control or eliminate lead hazards before children are exposed (primary prevention) helped reduce the number of children exposed to lead (blood lead levels ≥ 1μg/dL) by nearly 3 million, saving $26–57 billion in lifetime productivity earnings alone. These estimates do not account for behavioral and other adverse effects on lifetime productivity linked to lead.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 25% of all diseases are caused by environmental exposures. Some of these diseases—such as cancer, asthma, and cardiovascular disease—are the greatest killers today.
CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (Tracking Network) is a dynamic web-based tool that tracks and reports environmental hazards and the health problems that may be related to them.
The Tracking Network’s integrated health, environmental exposure, and hazard information is used to
- Identify interventions and programs to reduce or prevent health effects from environmental exposures.
- Assess and research environmental links to diseases.
- Learn more about health and environmental issues in the communities where we live.
Since 2005, the Tracking Network has led to at least 160 public health interventions that prevent or control potential health effects from environmental exposures.
- Tracking data are available on health indicators, including asthma, birth defects, carbon monoxide poisoning, heart attacks, and reproductive outcomes.
- Tracking data are also available on environmental indicators such as air, water, and climate change, as well as on exposure data such as levels of chemicals in a person’s blood or body fluids.
In Connecticut about 400,000 private wells serve 15% of the state’s population.
About 15% of households in the United States get their drinking water from private wells and other unregulated sources where little is known about the quality of water.
The Safe Water Program prevents human exposure to and disease from non-infectious waterborne contaminants by
- Building state capacity to identify and address non-infectious unregulated drinking water issues.
- Advancing the science to describe the health effects of noninfectious drinking water contaminants.
- Promoting effective, evidence-based strategies to prevent exposure to non-infectious drinking water contaminants.
- Improving capacity to respond to environmental emergencies that affect water.
Public Health in Action
CDC supports the Putting on AIRS (Asthma Indoor Risk Strategies) Program through which asthma prevention specialists provide one-on-one education and environmental assessments to asthma patients and their families in their homes. The program empowers families with knowledge and tools to control asthma. In three years, Putting on AIRS and its local partners have reached 600 Connecticut families. Health officials report the effort decreased asthma-related hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and school absences. For every 100 program participants, the state saves about $26,000 in acute care costs.
Asthma is a continuing concern for many Connecticut residents, especially those living in urban areas. Tracking the rates of hospital stays due to asthma is crucial to assessing the success of public health strategies. The Connecticut Tracking Program developed a part of the state tracking network just for asthma. With data from the state asthma program and hospitals, users can view real-time rates for asthma-related hospital stays by ethnicity, gender, race, and county. (See https://stateofhealth.ct.gov/AsthmaExternal)
Thanks to the Connecticut Tracking Program, complete user-friendly asthma data for the state are available in one place for the first time. Other health department programs now have access to asthma data that can help them evaluate their asthma prevention and control activities in less time.
Connecticut users of private wells and other unregulated sources of water may know little about the quality of their water. Private water wells in the United States can have unsafe levels of radon, arsenic, uranium, manganese, fluoride, nitrates, or bacteria. CDC’s Private Well Initiative helps well owners ensure the safety of their water.
CDC gives the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CDPH) nearly $70,000 to partner with local health departments to collect water data from across the state. CDPH is starting with basic information, such as the number of private water wells in the state and their locations. CDPH will then use this information to provide guidance to the public on testing their wells.
The following describes activities carried out in in previous years with the support of CDC’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program when it was fully funded:
CDC funding of Connecticut’s Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Program (LPPCP) supported surveillance on blood lead level testing, monitoring of the accreditation and certification of lead professionals, and local health departments’ lead prevention activities.
Surveillance of blood lead results allows the state to identify high-risk communities. For example, in 2009, black and Hispanic children in urban areas were found to have the highest percentages of elevated blood lead levels in Connecticut. LPPCP has supported local health departments and two Regional Lead Treatment Centers to conduct health promotion, prevention, and response activities. LPPCP
- Conducted about 100 onsite visits for environmental and case management services each year.
- Facilitated lead remediation and abatement in homes identified with lead hazards.
- Provided lead inspection and risk assessment training to local health department staff.
- Offered educational seminars to health care providers, Medicaid managed care organizations, schools, and community leaders to target high-risk populations within the state.
- Published newsletters and makes educational information available online in 14 languages.
- Of children ages 6 and younger who were tested for blood lead in Connecticut in 2011, 4,428 children had elevated blood lead levels (5 μg/dL or greater).
- *CDC’s funding to state lead poisoning prevention programs was eliminated in FY 2012 because of budget reductions.