When we think of the environment and how it impacts health, we tend to think of the earth and our natural environment - the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. Humans are connected and a part of their natural environment. However, we may also spend a great deal of time in our homes, at work, in school, or in other buildings. We breathe indoor air, and consume or use household products, cosmetics, and medicines. Environmental hazards may include any chemicals or toxins we come into contact with that can cause harm. An example would be lead paint in the home or particulate matter in outdoor air. The presence of a hazard does not necessarily mean that health problems will occur, but it may cause a disease or other health problem. The LDH Tracking Program is putting both Health and Environmental data together to assist in identifying and exploring the connections. The LDH Tracking Program includes the following environmental indicators:
The Fourth National Climate Assessment (U.S. Global Change Research Program, 2018) summarizes the current status of climate change in the United States and outlines potential impacts for the future. Specifically related to the Southeast United States, increasing temperatures and the associated increase in frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme heat events is expected to affect public health, natural and built environments, energy, agriculture, and forestry. While the Health Data Portal currently provides temperature data, these environmental data will be expanded to include emerging climate impacts on the health of Louisiana communities. Various topics to be added to the Portal may include sea level rise and the potential displacement of coastal communities, extreme weather (drought, increased precipitation), wildfire, and vector-borne illness.
Fish consumption advisories are issued when contaminants are found in fish at levels that may potentially impact the public's health.
Because people have come in contact with mercury from eating fish in Louisiana, popular fishing areas and other water bodies in the state have been sampled by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) to determine the extent of risks due to mercury. Fish advisories are issued when harmful chemicals are found at levels that may impact the public's health. To explore mercury in fish data, click here
Air quality can be affected by a wide variety of pollutants. Air pollutants come from many different sources and can be gaseous chemicals as well as tiny solid and liquid particles. Currently, the LDH Tracking Program presents outdoor air quality data on monitored ground level ozone and particulate matter (PM) that is less than 2.5 micrometers or smaller known as PM2.5.