Population Health and the Environment
Healthy environments are crucial to healthy communities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 13 million deaths per year, a quarter of global deaths, are due to modifiable environmental risks.1 Exposure to environmental pollutants, such as ozone and PM2.5, can increase the risk of developing health issues like respiratory disease, heart disease, and cancer.2 Additionally, the way in which a neighborhood is built influences the health of communities. Many communities across the United States bear a disproportionate burden of pollution. Some of these communities face the additional burden of social vulnerability which puts them at greater risk to the impacts of environmental hazards, natural disasters, and disease outbreaks.3
In order to achieve health equity, environmental inequities must be addressed as a public health issue.4 Tracking environmental pollutants and hazards are crucial to understanding where and how people are exposed and the risk of environmental hazards that communities face. Additionally, identifying communities that may be more vulnerable to the impacts of pollution, environmental hazards, and climate change can help to inform policy makers of those in need of targeted resources and interventions.
Data on population health and the environment in San Diego County can be viewed on the Population Health and the Environment Dashboard. The interactive dashboard includes a variety of data from federal, state, and local sources and covers five themes related to population health and the environment in San Diego County. The accompanying brief highlights key findings from the dashboard.
Water quality is the measure of the condition of water by examining the presence of certain contaminants (e.g., physical, chemical, biological, radiological).1 Examining bodies of water will aid in determining where the water can be used, such as in the protection and reproduction of fish, shellfish, and wildlife, recreational and public drinking water supply, as well as agricultural and industrial purposes.1 Ensuring water quality and regulating the entry of contaminants from entering water sources across the United States can protect human health and aquatic life.
The water quality informational packet consists of a fact sheet, descriptive summary, slide set, and a critical pathway highlight factors affecting water quality, protection of our waterways, and statistics and disparities at the national, state, and local levels.
Water Quality Disease Informational Packet
Fact Sheet: The fact sheet is a single-page document for the general public that provides facts, factors affecting water quality, and protection of our waterways.
Descriptive Summary: The descriptive summary provides further detailed information about factors affecting water quality and statistics at a national, state, and local level.
Slide Set: The slide set provides detailed information about facts, factors affecting water quality, and data in a presentation form. This may be used in presentations for the general public.
Critical Pathway: The critical pathway is a single-page document that displays a diagram of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors and intermediate outcomes or related diseases that impact water quality.
1 World Health Organization (WHO), Environmental Health, 2023. Accessed July 2023. https://www.who.int/health-topics/environmental-health#tab=tab_1
2 Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services., Healthy People 2030, Environmental Health. Accessed July 2023. https://health.gov/healthypeople/objectives-and-data/browse-objectives/environmental-health
3 California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, CalEnviroScreen 4.0, 2021. https://oehha.ca.gov/calenviroscreen/report/calenviroscreen-40
4 American Public Health Association (APHA), Topics and Issues, Environmental Justice, 2023. Accessed July 2023. Environmental Justice (apha.org)
5 United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2023, March 27). What are water quality standards?. https://www.epa.gov/standards-water-body-health/what-are-water-quality-standards. Accessed 06/20/23.