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New Report Assesses State Activities in Non-Infectious Environmental Health Exposure Monitoring and Investigation

Posted By Jessica Wurster, Friday, July 10, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, July 08, 2015

CSTE is pleased to announce the release of the Assessment of State Activities in Non-Infectious Environmental Health Exposure Monitoring and Investigation report. The scope of state environmental health applied epidemiology activities in non-infectious conditions had never before been systematically assessed. Therefore, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) in collaboration with the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) undertook a national assessment to determine current processes for and experiences with the monitoring and investigation of environmental exposures and associated acute non-infectious health effects.

The purpose of this assessment is to better understand how these processes have been standardized in terms of response algorithms, case definitions, and investigation forms and protocols; how agencies store, share, and use this information; and how the activities are linked with related programs, such as occupational and injury epidemiology. The results demonstrate environmental health-related activities that are being successfully implemented in many health departments and can be used to build environmental health investigation and response capacity nationwide.

In total, 80.5 percent of the 56 requested agencies completed the assessment during the time span of December 2013 to March 2014. The report presents assessment data of 11 environment-related health conditions and nine types of environmental exposure events. Additionally, the assessment addresses whether syndromic surveillance has been used as a tool for environmental monitoring and response, the effect of the location of radiation control agency on radiation event reporting and activities, and resources and barriers to monitoring and response. To read the results of the report, click here.

The recommendations of the report are to:
  1. Focus on greater public dissemination of investigation results of case reports and exposure events.
  2. Develop a repository of procedures and tools used by the 35 jurisdictions that were willing to share these items, and make the repository available to all state and local health departments.
  3. Provide guidance on strategies for the monitoring of and response to non-reportable health conditions.
  4. Conduct within-agency training on current reporting requirements and practices.
  5. Promote the use of syndromic surveillance as a source for environment-related health conditions.
  6. Expand the current levels of national funding originating from the Environmental Public Health Tracking and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health at CDC.

The authors are:

Henry Anderson, MD, Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Kristina W. Kintziger, PhD, Florida Department of Health
Erin Simms, MPH, (Former) Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
Martha Stanbury, MSPH, Michigan Department of Community Health
Sharon M. Watkins, PhD, Florida Department of Health
Jessica Wurster, MPH, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists

If you have any questions or would like more information about CSTE Environmental Health programs, please contact Jessica Wurster.

Jessica Wurster, MPH is an associate research analyst at the CSTE national office. To learn more, visit CSTE’s Environmental Health page.

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