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. Examples 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. Here both health and environmental data are together to identify and explore connections.
Air pollution in the United States is a public health threat affecting potentially millions of people throughout the country. It is associated with increased emergency department visits and hospital stays for breathing and heart problems, and increases in respiratory illnesses such as asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis.
Tracking air pollution can help people understand how often they are exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution. These data can also help public health professionals or policymakers understand which areas may be most in need of prevention and control activities. Here we connect to data about ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5).
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in rocks and soils. Radon gas is tasteless, colorless and odorless. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is common in Middle and East Tennessee. The only way to know if it is in your home is to test for it.