Concord, NH – A five-year, $3.5 million cooperative agreement to track environmentally-related issues such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer and birth outcomes has been awarded to the NH Department of Environmental Services and the NH Department of Health and Human Services from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. The first year award of $663,121 will initiate five years of support for this developing system.
"These federal resources are helping state agencies build a strong foundation for environmental and public health tracking," said DES Commissioner Michael Nolin. "As an agency with a dual mission of environmental quality and public health protection, DES is very concerned about the impact that pollutants may have on the people of our state. Over time, this system will help to better determine which environmental factors play a key role in the development of illness and the protection of public health."
"Improved environmental health tracking will benefit state decision makers with better information, and local communities will benefit from more focused health and environmental data." said Mary Ann Cooney, state public health director. "When communities are better informed, they will be able to respond to environmental health concerns and protect public health. DES and DHHS look forward to working together on environmental health tracking efforts by sharing staff, resources and information.
This funding is part of $22 million in competitive funds won by 17 states and cities as part of legislation approved by Congress in 2005 to support a national system for Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT). Regionally, EPHT partners will include UNH, US Geological Survey, and the states of Maine and New York. New Hampshire already monitors infectious and chronic diseases, but this will be the first effort to track multiple environmental health issues in the state over time. This second phase of funding is being awarded to address gaps in environmental health data sets, and standardize them so they can better track trends over time and by location.
For more information, please contact Sherry Godlewski, Health Educator, Air Resources Division at (603) 271-6801.