Planning & Tools
This section of the EPHT website is devoted to cross-cutting topics in environmental health which can assist the public, planners and decision makers in how to incorporate environmental health concerns into policy and planning activities, and to target public health projects, programs and initiatives to meet environmental health goals. Unlike topics in the Environment and Health sections, topics under Planning & Tools don't always have one data set associated with them. Instead, we often try to bring together many different kinds of information that might be helpful to consider.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has developed a direct mailing tool for physician outreach. It provides community-specific indicators of childhood lead screening and exposure, highlighting areas of needed improvement in physician screening, follow-up, and prevention. The progress report focuses on awareness of the CDC blood lead reference value of 5 µg/dL (in effect from 2012-2021) and the dangers of low-level lead exposure, educating physicians on their role in preventing lead exposure by screening all children, following proper blood lead testing practices, and educating parents on available resources.
The voluntary "Choose Safe Places" program helps early care and education programs choose locations that are safe from environmental hazards. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental Health (DPH) offers free resources and assistance to help early childhood educators keep children safe from toxic chemicals.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health EPHT program has assembled profiles to provide a snapshot of environmental health for Massachusetts communities. Data for several health and environmental topics are presented in each profile, as well as population information. The community profiles can be used by anyone who would like to know about environmental public health in Massachusetts communities. Profiles can be used to gather data, guide public health actions, identify high-risk groups, shape policy decisions, or simply inform the curious.
Environmental Justice (EJ) is based on the principle that all people have the right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean, healthy environment. Using charts, maps, and data tables, the EJ Tool identifies populations that meet the EJ criteria set forth in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) EJ Policy. The MA DPH EJ Tool also makes data on vulnerable health criteria more accessible to facilitate the use of the EOEEA EJ Policy, to enhance inclusive community planning for environmental assessment, and to inform a wide range of activities (e.g. siting, permitting, Brownfields clean-up, Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act review, grant applications, transportation projects, and community, health, or climate-related impact assessments).
Emergencies can happen at any time. They can be widespread or localized. They can take the form of a naturally-occurring event such as a hurricane, flood, or tornado, or a man-made incident like a terrorist attack. Regardless of the type of emergency, there is a very real possibility that people, as well as community resources and infrastructure will be impacted by these events. Preparedness is a key to minimizing these impacts and implementing effective emergency response.
Within individual communities, there are residents with varied access and functional needs which may affect their ability to respond appropriately to an emergency, including physical and intellectual disabilities, limited access to transportation, special medical needs, and language other than English spoken at home. For some communities, access and functional needs also extends to people who may have communication or supervisory needs (e.g. language barriers, children) or other status (e.g. pregnant). These populations may require additional assistance during and after an emergency, especially in the response and recovery phase of disaster management. This tool is designed to help emergency planners obtain a more detailed snapshot of these populations within their respective communities and regions to ensure that community-level preparedness plans account for and incorporate residents’ varied needs.
Flooding is a concern for many people living in Massachusetts. The Flood Zone Mapping Tool can help you learn if your residence sits within a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated flood zone or floodplain. If you know you live in a flood zone, you can better prepare yourself and family in the event of flooding that may occur from heavy rains, poor drainage, nearby construction project, or storm-related surges in inland and coastal areas.
Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a tool to identify potential health impacts and benefits of a proposed project, program, or policy decision and recommend strategies that best protect and promote health. This section walks through the guiding principles of the HIA framework, steps in conducting an HIA, how EPHT data can be used for HIA, examples of successfully completed HIAs, and how HIAs are done at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has compiled a guide to help buyers and renters move into a safe home. This guide provides information on: drinking water, septic systems, lead, radon, asbestos, mold, pests, carbon monoxide, outdoor air quality, hazardous waste sites, and disease patterns.