What is the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network?
The National Network
The National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (EPHTN) is a project led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). EPHTN makes available for the first time nationally consistent, standardized data and measures on environmental hazards, exposure, and health outcomes. Funded by Congress, the Tracking Network is CDC's response to calls for better understanding of how the environment affects people's health. The national network includes three groupings of data:
- Health outcome data show rates of certain non-infectious diseases or conditions.
- Exposure data show concentrations of certain chemicals inside people's bodies.
- Hazard data show estimates of contaminants and pollutants that may be found in air, water, and other human surroundings.
Washington Tracking Network
With funding from CDC, the Washington State Department of Health developed and implemented the Washington Tracking Network (WTN), as well as contributed to the development of the National network. WTN has three overarching aims
- Develop information technology and informatics systems needed to streamline collection, management, integration, and dissemination of environmental public health data and information via the web portal.
- Generate useful information and indicators from environmental public health tracking data.
- Build a network of environmental public health partners and stakeholders who will inform, contribute to, and use available data from the Tracking Network for public health action.
We continue to increase the breadth of narrative content, data, and tools on the WTN portal, based on national standards and local user needs. We invite users of this portal to send comments about current or future portal content or functionality to: DOH.WTN@doh.wa.gov.
Why is the Tracking Network needed?
A 2001 Pew Environmental Health Commission report stated that the nation's existing environmental health system is neither adequate nor well organized to understand the implications of the environment on public health. The report, “America's Environmental Health Gap: Why the Country Needs a Nationwide Health Tracking Network,” recommended the creation of a national network for tracking environmental exposures and disease.
Chronic diseases account for 70% of deaths in the United States, and environmental hazards may influence many of these diseases and health conditions. The mission of the Tracking Network is to provide information from a nationwide network of integrated health and environmental data that drives actions to improve the health of communities.
For information or questions related to the Washington Tracking Network, email DOH.WTN@doh.wa.gov.
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