What is Environmental Public Health Tracking?


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) as the ongoing collection, integration, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data from environmental hazard monitoring, and from human exposure and health effects surveillance.  This will be accomplished through the development of a national Environmental Public Health Tracking Network that will combine health, human exposure, and hazard data to provide valid scientific information on environmental exposures and adverse health condition as well as the possible spatial and temporal link between them.



Why do we need an Environmental Public Health Tracking Network?


The environment plays an important role in human development and health.  Researchers have linked exposures to some environmental hazards with specific diseases.  However, other links remain unproven.  Currently no systems exist at the state or national level to track many of the exposures and health effects that may be related to environmental hazards.  In addition, in most cases, existing environmental hazard, exposure, and disease tracking systems are not linked together.  Because existing systems are not linked, it is difficult to study and monitor relationships among hazards, exposures, and health effects.


CDC’s goal is to develop a tracking system that integrates data about environmental hazards and exposures with data about diseases that are possibly linked to the environment. This system will allow federal, state, and local agencies, and others to do the following:

  • Monitor and distribute information about environmental hazards and disease trends;
  • Advance research on possible linkages between environmental hazards and diseasel and
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate regulatory and public health actions to prevent or control environment-related diseases.