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A Newsletter of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Bureau of Climate and Environmental Health
Environmental Public Health Tracking Program

2020 Volume 3, Issue 1

News and Updates

Content update:

Data update: New data are available for:

Featured Topic: Climate-Enhanced Community Profiles

The Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking (MA EPHT) Program recently released version 2.0 of its popular Community Profiles. This new version includes more climate change-related measures as well as important resources and information about climate adaption strategies.

Our Community Profiles provide a snapshot of locally tailored environmental health, sociodemographic, and climate change data for each of Massachusetts' 351 communities. They are linked to our EPHT database to include up-to-date health and environmental indicators. Profiles can be used to guide public health actions, identify priority groups, and shape policy decisions.

The Community Profiles are subdivided into the following topic areas:

Did You Know?
Climate change disproportionately impacts the health of people living in EJ communities who face multiple social and environmental stressors andmay be unable to respond to climate impacts.
Population: The profiles contain key demographic and social determinants of health data related to age, disabilities, income, poverty, race, ethnicity, English language proficiency, and educational attainment. They highlight the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Environmental Justice (EJ) communities and contextualize the importance of EJ in public health planning. Climate-related messaging explains how these populations are vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Health: Lead poisoning, heart attack and asthma hospitalizations, and pediatric asthma data are included. When possible, health data are stratified by gender and compared to state rates.

Environment: Environmental data include air quality indicators for fine particles and ozone, as well as water quality data for a community’s public water system. The profile highlights how changing weather patterns may increase air pollution and how climate-related flooding may impact drinking water.

Title: By the year 2060, temperatures will exceed 90 degrees fahrenheit for 10 to 60 days for the year in the Springfield area - Description: A graph showing number of days per year on the y-axis and years, beginning with 2030 and ending with 2080, on the x-axis. Four different projections of are plotted - the upper estimate or 90th percentile, the average or median, the lower estimate or 10th percentile, and the 1996 to 2005 average.Climate Change: This section shows how data can help a community plan for these changes, and provides additional resources for climate adaptation planning.

Climate change is increasing the number of very hot days, and hot days increase the risk of hospital visits for people with chronic conditions including lung, heart, vascular, and kidney diseases. Some medications can also impair the body’s ability to cool itself.

Click here to explore the MA EPHT Community Profiles.

Data for Climate Action Plans

Title: Data for climate action plans - Description: This flow diagram presents examples of climate hazards, baseline health, environmental and social indicators, and climate-related interventions that comprise cimate action plans.The MA EPHT website has the tools you need to assess baseline health and environmental conditions in your community. Click the explore maps & tables button to get started. Use advanced settings within the map view to add feature layers that can be concurrently displayed with health data. For example, MassTrack volume 2 issue 1 provides a tutorial to view rates of carbon monoxide poisoning within populations that are most vulnerable to climate change hazards. Together, these data sets can be used to identify communities with populations that may be especially vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisonings during cold weather or power outages. Take a look at the tutorials for step-by-step instructions to help you explore our data - data that help a community plan for climate-related interventions.

The MA EPHT website has a host of features that can help you get the health and environmental information you need! To contact us, call 1-617-624-5757 and ask for the "EPHT Coordinator". Please leave a voicemail if calling after office hours.
This work is partially supported by the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network Cooperative Agreement (CDC-RFA-EH17-1702) and the Climate and Health Cooperative Agreement (5 NUE1EH001322-04) to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the Department of Health and Human Services.