Tool Allows Users To View Environment-Related Health Issues
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has launched an online mapping tool that shows which communities across the state are most at risk for health problems caused by the environment, HealthyCal reports.
Details of Tool
The tool -- promoted as the first of its kind in the U.S. -- examines about 1,800Â ZIP codesÂ across the state and ranks them according to 11 different environmental quality measures.
It also combines the environmental results with demographic measures -- such as age, poverty and asthma rates -- to produce a "population burden score" that measures a community's risk for health problems related to environmental factors.
According to HealthyCal, the tool could help explain how individuals' health and community are related and why people who live only a short distance apart can have significantly different health outcomes.
The creators of the tool say thatÂ they eventually might link their measures of environmental conditions to other sources that examine the health ofÂ a population.Sam Delson -- a spokesperson for OEHHA -- said, "We're open to suggestions on how to improve the data and make the scores more reliable, and how to make it more accessible to the general public" (Weintraub, HealthyCal, 5/5). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.