Environmental Health Hazard Mapping
An often overlooked type of natural that we are all subjected to are the various, often unseen, environmental hazards which adversely affect human health. These include natural and human-caused pollution of air, soil and water, radiation sources, pathogenic diseases, and more. Environmental health concerns often arise as a result of the other types of natural disasters.
Maps are often used to monitor environmental health hazards, risks and concerns. Pollution sources and extent can be mapped. Disease outbreaks can be modeled and mapped. Your local and/or health department can be a great resource for environmental health hazards in your area.
In the United States, numerous agencies are involved with the production of environmental health hazard maps. The EPA is the primary agency charged with protection of public health and the environment. The CDC is involved with the monitoring and prevention of disease. In addition the USGS and other federal agencies are involved with mapping and modeling pollution. Often environmental health is studied and controlled at a local or state level. Some helpful resources are listed below.
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Air pollution (haze) plume, Himayalas.
Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory
EPA Enviromapper - An interactive environmental hazard map viewer. Includes EPA regulated sites (toxic releases, superfund, water discharge, air emissions, hazardous waste, air and water monitors), flood hazard areas, water features, cultural features, shaded relief, and topography.
EPA Map of Radon Zones - Small scale map of radon risk zones in the US and radon related information. Due to the small scale of the map and low cost and ease of testing, we recommend that homeowners and renters test their home regardless of their zone.
EPA Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds - Databases and mapping resources for wetlands, oceans and watersheds in the United States and beyond.
CDC -Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC Environmental Health -Environmental health hazard related information, links and resources.
CDC NCHS GIS Page -National Center for Health Statistics GIS and Public Health. GIS data and maps.
CDC Epi-Info - Resources for for creating public health maps.
For state-specific information, contact your State Geologist and your State Office of Emergency Management. At a local level, contact your city or county emergency management, planning, zoning, environmental and/or health office/department.
American Red Cross - Natural disaster preparedness and relief.