For Immediate Release
September 15, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

KDHE awarded CDC Environmental Public Health Tracking Grant

Environmental Health Tracking Tool will help improve and protect state's health

In continuing efforts to protect the health of Kansas residents from environmental hazards, the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) is pleased to announce that it has been selected by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to receive grant funding to develop an Environmental Public Health Tracking Network for Kansas.

When completed, the tracking network will enable Kansas will join more than 16 other states in sharing valuable information concerning what we know about the environment’s impact on health. 

Development of the network is part of a national initiative led by the CDC and will include the development of a web-based system to track key environmental hazards and health problems across Kansas.   It will improve understanding and lead to public health actions that can prevent chronic illnesses such as asthma and cancer.

“In the face of emerging issues such as concern about indoor air quality and rising rates of asthma in children, protecting our state’s health from environmental hazards is a top priority,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, State Health Officer and Director of KDHE’s Division of Health. 

 “Developing a tracking network in Kansas will be a major step forward. It will help us identify threats to our state’s health posed by the environment and improve how we deal with those threats,” Dr. Eberhart-Phillips added.  “When completed Kansans will be able to access critical environmental health information that will help them make informed decisions and take action to protect themselves and their families.”

Until now, there has been a fundamental gap in our nation’s knowledge of how the environment affects health. Chronic disease accounts for 70 percent of deaths in the United States.  While links between certain chronic diseases and the environment have been reported, many of these connections remain unclear. With KDHE’s participation, CDC’s environmental public health tracking efforts will work to close this gap.

Timely, integrated environmental and health data at the federal, state and local levels via the national and state tracking networks will provide a basis for early notification of pending environmental events.

For more information please visit the KDHE Bureau of Environmental Health web site at http://www.kdheks.gov/beh/index.html or www.cdc.gov/ephtracking.