NM Environmental Public Health Tracking Program
The NM Environmental Public Health Tracking Program (NM EPHT; also called Tracking) launched this Web site to enable the public and researchers to learn about relationships between environmental exposures and their associated health effects.
The NM Tracking Web site summarizes air quality and water quality data as well as environmental health outcomes such as asthma, myocardial infarction (heart attack), birth defects, reproductive outcomes, thyroid cancer, and leukemia. It includes studies on the linkage of ozone in air with asthma, and arsenic in drinking water with bladder cancer. It also provides warning systems based on real-time satellite data for wildfires, dust, heat waves, and other weather events.
The interactive NM Tracking Application (Interactive Data Query) allows data queries for and visualization of data that are summarized throughout these pages. Link to the NM Tracking Application:
Learn about TrackingLearn more about Environmental Public Health Tracking. Visit our Learn How To Use Tracking Page where you can learn how to access Tracking 101, a free web-based course which gives an overview of Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT), environmental and health data linkage concepts, and access to other Tracking learning resources created and published by our national partners.
Tracking in New Mexico
New Mexico Tracking activities focus on:
- Enhancing, geocoding, and developing core data sets.
- Exploring data linkages of environmental exposure and health outcome data.
- Epidemiologic and statistical analyses.
- Developing data dissemination capabilities and tools.
- Submitting the nationally consistent data and measures (NCDMs) and metadata for tracking on the National and NM EPHT Networks.
- Implementing Web-based and role-based public and secure portals, and developing messages for incorporation into the portals.
Data analyses aided in environmental health surveillance in New Mexico by improving our ability to define exposures and related disease occurrences and to respond to community concerns. The information collected for NM EPHT has been used to make legislative recommendations and public health interventions to reduce environmental exposures and potentially related disease.
NM EPHT responded to a legislative request to look at air quality issues in northwest NM and their potential health effects. The northwest part of New Mexico has numerous coal-fired power plants and oil and gas refineries that combine to create air quality exposures to ozone, particulates, metals, and toxic organics. We were able to respond based on our studies conducted for Tracking that found an association between ozone levels and emergency department visits for asthma. We continue to investigate the relationships between these air quality issues and other respiratory health effects and cardiovascular effects. All these data had been obtained and reviewed as part of Tracking and were summarized in a report for the State Legislature.
Los Alamos County in-depth, sub-county-level epidemiologic investigations of anecdotically reported excess thyroid cancer incidence: In several instances, statistically elevated incidence rates of cancer have been observed, and in one case involving thyroid cancer in Los Alamos County, additional follow-up studies were initiated using capacity developed by the NM EPHT Network. The thyroid cancer follow-up study revealed that the more than three-fold excess of thyroid cancer observed among Los Alamos County residents between 2001 and 2005 was localized entirely to females, and more specifically, to reproductive-age females aged 20 to 49 years. In response to community concerns, further studies at the Census tract level are now underway to more closely examine the excess incidence pattern in terms of its uniqueness and possible underlying factors.
Biomonitoring Legislative Appropriations: Findings from Tracking supported a request for state biomonitoring funds to be included in the next legislature session. New Mexico previously held a CDC biomonitoring grant and as a result, we now have greater biomonitoring capacity and have identified many important issues that need further addressing, including arsenic and uranium levels in urine that are associated with health effects. Many of these exposures are from contaminants in some drinking water sources.
NASA Satellite Data
We developed and implemented the infrastructure to include daily, updated National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellite images on our State Network to show wildfires and their smoke plumes, dust plumes, and weather events. NM EPHT partnered with NASA on three projects to include satellite data in our Program: a dust re-suspension model developed to estimate ground-level dust concentrations and associated health effects, including asthma and myocardial infarction (MI); a NASA model (currently being validated) to estimate ground-level ozone concentrations statewide since ground-monitoring data have only been collected for Albuquerque so far; and a feasibility study for developing and implementing a pollen model based on satellite vegetation indices (calculations that indicate vegetation greenness).
NM EPHT supported the developing Climate Change Workgroup, including evaluation of satellite data for land surface temperatures and thermal reflectance and potential heat-related health outcomes.
Drinking Water Quality
NM EPHT implemented a GIS-based methodology to characterize NM Census tracts with respect to public drinking water supply systems, service populations proportionate to overall Census tract populations, and population-weighted drinking water arsenic levels. [GIS Geographic Information System]
Also, see the NMDOH Environmental Health Epidemiology Bureau's NM Tracking, nmhealth.org/eheb/envtracking.shtml (external site). Or, e-mail NMDOH for information that you do not find on this NM EPHT site: firstname.lastname@example.org.