Did You Know? is a weekly feature from the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support to inform your prevention activities. We invite you to read, share, and take action!
View the Current Did You Know?
July 21, 2017
- The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) assessed nearly 950,000 people in 2016 for exposure to toxic substances; 230,000 of them had exposures that were potentially harmful to their health.
- In 2016, ATSDR responded to 520 requests in 35 states and territories to assess exposure to dangerous substances such as asbestos, lead, mercury, and trichloroethylene (TCE).
- Through cooperative agreements and petitions, health departments can work together with ATSDR to reduce people’s exposure to toxic substances in the environment.
May 26, 2017
- Cryptosporidiosis, or Crypto [PDF-307KB], is a recreational water illness that can cause prolonged diarrhea and serious illness—share CDC’s new swimmer hygiene posters and social media images to raise awareness about why people with diarrhea should not swim.
- Crypto outbreaks linked to swimming have doubled in the United States since 2014, with at least 32 outbreaks in 13 states in 2016.
- CDC’s CryptoNet can help state and local health departments investigate and control Crypto outbreaks.
February 10, 2017
- About 1 in 4 Americans have hearing damage as a result of noise exposure away from work.
- Loud noise in homes and communities can damage hearing as much as working in a noisy place; more than half [PDF-770KB] of US adults with noise-induced hearing loss do not have noisy jobs.
- Healthcare providers can ask patients about exposure to loud noise and counsel them on how to protect their hearing.
August 12, 2016
- Algae are important organisms in oceans, rivers, and lakes, but some algae can produce toxins that harm people, animals, and the environment.
- Harmful algal blooms, or overgrowth of algae, are increasing in occurrence and severity across the country.
- Health departments and their environmental and animal health partners can use the One Health Harmful Algal Bloom System to report harmful algal blooms and associated illnesses [PDF-176KB].
June 10, 2016
- Legionnaires’ disease, a serious lung infection that kills about 1 in 10 people who get it, is on the rise, according to the latest Vital Signs report.
- Water management problems can lead to outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease, which people get by breathing in mist containing the germ Legionella.
- You can provide tools and information to help building owners and managers create and use Legionella water management programs.
May 27, 2016
- About 1 in 8 routine inspections of public pools and hot tubs lead to immediate closure because of health or safety violations.
- Serious health violations, like not having enough chlorine and improper pH, can lead to an outbreak of recreational water illnesses.
- To protect against illness and injury, swimmers should check for these four things before getting into pools, hot tubs, or other places with treated water.
July 24, 2015
- Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating ameba found in warm freshwater, can enter the body through the nose and cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis, leading to brain swelling and death.
- An investigational drug available from the CDC Drug Service helped treat the first American since 1978 to survive illness from Naegleria fowleri.
- Swimmers can lower their risk of infection by following these tips when swimming in warm freshwater lakes, rivers, and hot springs, where most US infections have occurred.
July 2, 2015
- At least 1,788 people got sick from contaminated pool, hot tub, lake, and ocean water in 90 separate outbreaks across 32 states and Puerto Rico over a two-year period.
- Cryptosporidium a diarrhea-causing parasite that is hard to kill with chlorine caused about half of these illnesses.
- Health professionals, aquatics staff, and swimmers can take easy and effective steps to help keep germs out of pools and hot tubs.
March 13, 2015
- About 41% of Americans depend on ground water [PDF-5MB] from a public source or private well, but nearly 94% of all drinking water outbreak-associated illnesses occur in water systems that use a ground water source.
- Bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemicals in ground water can cause a range of short- and long-term health problems, including acute gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders.
- If your water comes from a private well, let your healthcare provider know, especially if you have an infant at home.
November 21, 2014
- Arsenic contaminates the groundwater in many parts across the United States—find out where.
- Drinking water that contains arsenic can raise one’s risk for cancer and other health problems [PDF–277KB].
- You can share arsenic resources from CDC and the National Ground Water Association to help protect private well owners in your area.
July 18, 2014
- Traffic-related air pollution is highest near major roads. In 2010, 5.0% of Hispanics, 5.4% of Asians/Pacific Islanders, and 5.1% of foreign-born persons lived within 150 meters of a major highway (vs. 3.7% of the overall US population).
- Exposure to traffic-related air pollution leads to asthma attacks and may lead to onset of childhood asthma, other respiratory symptoms, and cardiovascular disease and death.
- Improved access to alternative transportation, financial incentives to reduce traffic, diesel retrofitting, and other measures could help reduce exposure to traffic emissions.
May 16, 2014
- Almost 5,000 people visited US emergency departments in 2012 after inhaling pool chemical fumes or dust or splashing pool chemicals into their eyes. Pool operators and owners can help prevent these injuries.
- For 2009–2010, 28 states and Puerto Rico reported 81 disease outbreaks caused by swimming in contaminated water. Swimmers and parents can help prevent illness and outbreaks.
- Pool operators, pool owners, swimmers, parents, and health departments can promote healthy and safe swimming using free materials from CDC.
January 3, 2014
- Mercury spills in schools are not only dangerous but also expensive to clean up.
- Mercury exposure [PDF-1.1MB] can affect the nervous system, lungs, and kidneys of children. Serious cases can result in brain damage—and even death.
- Help schools prepare for and prevent a mercury spill; visit the new Don’t Mess with Mercury website for educational materials and animated video messages.
May 17, 2013
December 16, 2011
- The Environmental Public Health Tracking Network’s improved data query system makes it easier to view environmental and health data for counties and states.
- The Tracking Network now includes climate and health data related to heat events and community design content.
- Public health professionals can use Tracking Network data to identify health trends, develop interventions, and address local environmental public health concerns.
May 6, 2011
- Nearly 1 in 12 people have asthma, and U.S. asthma rates are increasing every year.
- Asthma cost the United States $56 billion in medical costs, lost school and work days, and early deaths in 2007.
- The Guide to Community Preventive Services recommends home-based interventions that target a wide variety of asthma triggers for children with asthma.
Did You Know? information and web links are current as of their publication date. They may become outdated over time.
- Page last reviewed: August 12, 2016
- Page last updated: July 21, 2017
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