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My Health & Environment - Environmental Public Health Tracking




Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) - More commonly known as a heart attack. A medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the heart is interrupted. The resulting blood or oxygen shortage causes damage and potential death of heart tissue.

Age adjusted - A measure that has been statistically modified to minimize the effect of different age distributions in the different populations.

Air Pollution - The presence of substances in the air that are either present in an environment where they do not belong or present at levels greater than they should be.

Arsenic - An odorless and tasteless element that may enter drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices. Arsenic enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices and through the ground or as runoff into surface water sources.

Asthma - A disease that affects the lungs, causing repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early-morning coughing.

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Birth defect - A problem that happens as a baby develops in the mother’s body. A birth defect may affect how the body looks, works, or both. Some birth defects are so serious they can cause a baby to die; others are very minor problems that can be easily repaired.

Birth weight - The first weight of the newborn obtained after birth.

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Cancer - A disease in which cells in the body grow uncontrollably. It is often named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other body parts later.

Cancer Cluster - Generally, in order for a true cancer cluster to exist, the number of cancers occurring must be more than would be expected by chance alone. Additionally, a cancer cluster would more likely involve more rare types of cancer rather than more common cancers like lung, breast, prostate or colon cancers. A cancer cluster would usually occur with excess in one specific type of cancer rather than in several different types of cancer.

Carbon monoxide (CO) - CO is a colorless, odorless and toxic gas. It is a product of incomplete combustion.

Childhood lead poisoning - An illness that results from exposure to lead. Lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in the body. It can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and, at very high levels, seizures, coma, and even death.

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Disinfection byproducts - Compounds that are produced when the disinfectant (usually chlorine) breaks down or reacts with naturally-occurring organic and inorganic materials in the water. Disinfectants are added to water to rid it of bacteria and disease causing microorganisms.

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Environmental public health tracking (EPHT) - Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) is a nationally integrated environmental and public health information system. It is designed to provide data and information to all those who can use it to make better decisions to improve health as well as taking care of the environment.

EPHT content area - The content areas are the list of broad categories (for example: Air Quality, Cancer, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, etc.)

EPHT indicator - The indicators chosen for each content area provide a way to further define pollutants in the environment or specific health effects or diseases. For example, the indicators for Air Quality are ozone and particulate matter (PM 2.5) as they help us understand the effects of air pollution.

EPHT measure - The measures chosen for each content area are used to further define indicators. For environmental content areas, the measures are often related to whether or not a result meets or exceeds a set standard; for health related content areas, measures are typically a count of the number of cases or the rate of disease. For instance, the measure for Air Quality for ozone and particulate matter (PM 2.5) are the number of days above the standard and the percent of the population that is affected in the areas above the standard.

Exposure - Contact with a substance by swallowing or breathing or by direct contact such as through the skin or eyes. Exposure may be short term, intermediate duration, or long term.

Exposure pathway - The route a substance takes from where it began, its source, to its end point and how people can come into contact with or get exposed to it.

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F - G - H

No definitions at this time

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Incidence - Number of new cases of illness occurring within a specific population over a period of time.

Infant death - Death of a live born infant under one year of age.

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J - K

No definitions at this time

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Lead - A naturally occurring bluish-gray metal found in small amounts in the earth's crust. Lead can be found in all parts of our environment. Much of it comes from human activities including burning fossil fuels, mining, and manufacturing.

Live birth - The complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of human conception, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, which, after such expulsion or extraction, breathes, or shows any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached. Heartbeats are to be distinguished from transient cardiac contractions; respirations are to be distinguished from fleeting respiratory efforts or gasps. All states require the reporting of live births regardless of length of gestation or birth weight.

Low birth weight - Low birth weight is a weight at birth, which is less than 2,500 grams or 5 pounds 8 ounces.

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Maximum contaminant level (MCL) - The highest level of a contaminant that EPA allows in drinking water. MCLs ensure that drinking water does not pose either a short-term or long-term health risk. EPA sets MCLs at levels that are economically and technologically feasible. Some states set MCLs which are more strict than EPA’s.

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National ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) - These are limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for pollutants that are considered to be hazardous to public health and the environment.  There are six criteria pollutants for which these limits have been established:  Particulate Matter with diameter of ten (10) microns (PM10) or 2.5 microns (PM2.5), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Ozone (O3) and Lead (Pb).

Neonatal death - Death of a live born infant under 28 days of age.

Nitrates -A chemical unit of nitrogen and oxygen. Nitrates are converted to nitrites once taken into the body. Nitrates are mostly used as fertilizer. They may enter drinking water from runoff, septic tanks, sewage, and erosion of natural deposits.

Nonpoint source runoff pollution (aka storm-water runoff) - Occurs when rainfall or melting snow moves over and through the ground and it picks up and carries natural and human-made pollutants into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters.

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Ozone standard - The ozone NAAQS is comprised of a primary standard to protect health and a secondary standard to protect sensitive plants and animals. The EPA revised both 8-hour ground level ozone standards to a level of 0.075 parts per million (ppm). To meet the ozone standard, the 3-year average of the fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average ozone concentrations measured at each monitor within an area over each year must not exceed 0.075 ppm.

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Perinatal death - Death of a live born infant less than 7 days of age or a fetus past the 28th week of gestation.

PM2.5 standard - The PM2.5 NAAQS is comprised of a primary standard to protect health and a secondary standard to protect public welfare, including protection against visibility impairment, damage to animals, crops, vegetation and buildings. There are two averaging times for the PM2.5 NAAQS.  The annual standard measures chronic exposures to PM2.5 while the 24-hour standard measures acute (or short-term) exposures.  The EPA has set both PM2.5 standards to a level of 15.0 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) for the annual averaging time and 35 µg/m3 for the 24-hour averaging time. To meet the annual PM2.5standard, the 3-year average of the weighted annual mean PM2.5 concentrations from single or multiple community-oriented monitors must not exceed 15.0 µg/m3.  To meet the 24-hour PM2.5 standard, the 3-year average of the 98th percentile of 24-hour concentrations at each population-oriented monitor within an area must not exceed 35 µg/m3.

Postneonatal death - Death of a live born infant 28-364 days of age.

Preterm birth - A live birth occurring before 37 completed weeks of gestation.

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No definitions at this time

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Rate - A measure of the frequency with which an event occurs in a defined population.

Risk Factor - An aspect of personal behavior or lifestyle, an environmental exposure, or a genetic characteristic that affects a person’s chance of getting a disease or other adverse health effect.

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Safe drinking water act (SWA) -Originally passed by Congress in 1974 to protect public health drinking water, it was later amended in 1986 and 1996 to protect drinking water and its sources.

Sex ratio - Calculated as the number of term male singleton births per the number of term female singleton births in a given year.

Singleton birth -A singleton birth results from a pregnancy with only one baby, not a twin or other multiple pregnancies.

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Term birth - A live birth at or above 37 completed weeks of gestation.

Total fertility rate (TFR) - Calculated as the sum of all age-specific fertility rates multiplied by five. The TFR estimates the number of births that a hypothetical group of 1,000 women would have over their lifetimes, based on the age-specific birth rates in a given year. It can be interpreted as a replacement rate. Replacement is the rate at which a given generation can exactly replace itself, generally considered to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women.

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No definitions at this time

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Very preterm birth - A live birth occurring before 32 completed weeks of gestation.

Very low birth weight - Very low birth weight is a weight at birth, which is less than 1,500 grams or 3 pounds 4 ounces.

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W - X - Y - Z

No definitions at this time

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For additional information, contact the SC EPHT program:
These web pages are supported by Cooperative Agreement Number 5U38EH000628-02 from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.