Environmental Health A definition: Environmental health is the complex relationship among people, the physical environment and the health of our population. Kentucky Environmental Indicators Committee, July 8, 1999.
Indicator Definition: Indicators are direct or indirect measures of some valued component or quality of a defined system, used to assess and communicate the status and trends of that systems health. Green Mountain Institute for Environmental Democracy, September 1997
Indicator Definition (2): Indicator: A measurement that reflects the status of a system. Indicators reveal the direction of a system (a community, the economy, the environment), whether it is going forward or backward, increasing or decreasing, improving or deteriorating, or staying the same. National Public Health Performance Standards, CDC July 2005
Indicator Definition (3): Indicators are tools for quantifying, through direct or indirect measures, a significant aspect of an environmental issue. They can be used to assess and communicate the status of and trends in overall environmental health. Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health, NACCHO, May 2000.
Indicator Definition (4): Indicator: a pointer, a sign, a symptom or an index; a suggestion Websters New Ideal Dictionary, 1984
Levels of Indicators Tertiary Infrastructure, sources and activities Samples – Percent population on public water systems Percent population on public sewer systems Smoke-free workplaces
Levels of Indicators Secondary Environmental stressors, exposures, and pathways Samples – Air Quality Index Hazardous waste generated Radon exposure Agricultural chemicals
Levels of Indicators Primary Outcome Indicators – Human and environmental health Samples – human health: Birth defects Blood lead levels in children Childhood cancers Samples – environmental health: Surface water not meeting use standards Endangered species Acres of wetlands
Comparative Risk Which has a higher priority? One child develops cancer and dies? or 5,000 adults and children go to the doctor with gastrointestinal distress?
Ranking and Priority Setting Magnitude of the Issue Size of the jurisdiction (community) Number affected Percent of the population affected