Environmental Health - Rochester, NY area  


 Environmental Health: Ultimately, this issue looms the largest of all environmental issues because our environmental health describes our own health.  Our public health is going to be severely challenged by Climate Change.

Follow FrankRrrr on Twitter

* Also find out about Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus and Rabies in and around the Rochester area.

Page Contents: Environmental Health NewsLinks | Environmental Health and Climate Change | Pandemic Flu Information | Environmental Health Discussions | Resources | Monitoring Environmental Health | Environmental Health Reports | Essays on Environmental Health |


Our Rochester, NY area has many universities which specialize in Environmental Health, which makes it a leader in detecting and a leader in solutions for environmental health.  All of the issues on this page add up to our environmental health, though this page specializes in potential environmental diseases and studies performed locally on diseases.

One of the most immediate issues that should be on everyone's radar is the potential for Pandemic Flu, of which Monroe County has a detailed and comprehensive plan to deal with.  I agree that there is only a slim change that the pandemic flu would hit the Rochester area, but because it goes on record as the biggest single killer of humans, we should be ready for any transformation of the bird flu virus to one that spreads quickly though the human population. 


Bookmark and Share

SEARCH: Use search engine below to find anything posted since 1998..


Environmental health issues related to Climate Change in our region

One of the areas of impact of Climate Change in our region will be public health.  As Invasive Species flourish, West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease cases will increase.  There are many other health issues that will arise as our region warms up. Listed below are studies and reports on how our health may be impacted by Climate Change

  • EPA getting gutted. Sad.   Ever since humanity began large-scale industry, business folks have been duking it out with nature lovers. It would be convenient to entirely blame Pruitt and President Trump for attempting to gut the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). [February 2017]  more...
  • 4/06/2016 - This report on the impacts of Climate Change on human health in the US reveals a major threat that all communities must address. This report was produced by U.S. Global Change Research Program, which is to say your government whose job it is to preserve and protect the American people.  Consider at least skimming this report to get an idea of the threats we should be preparing for right now. Also, consider how insane it would be to put a climate denier into office who isn’t preparing our public health structure for this crisis. White House: Climate Change Poses Urgent Health Risk Climate change is a major threat to human health, with extreme heat likely to kill 27,000 Americans annually by 2100, according to a report released Monday by the White House. The report, by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, outlines numerous ways global warming could devastate public health in the U.S. this century. Global warming will lead to heat waves so extreme that in the hottest times of the year, it will be “physiologically impossible” for people who work outdoors to do their jobs, John Holdren, a science advisor to the Obama administration, said during a news conference about the report. (April 4, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change  and Environmental Health in our area] 
  • 5/19/2014 - Took me awhile to find this, but NYS Dept of Health is offering information on the public health and Climate Change.  Critical to planning for Climate Change and public health is educating the public about how Climate Change can and will affect public health, so it would be really nice if this aspect of Climate Change were better messaged to the public and the media took advantage of this. There’s lots of important information here, so why is it buried?  Interesting, you don’t find this section on Climate Change-- Climate, Weather & Health—on the main NYS Dept. of Health page. You have to use the word ‘climate’ in their search box.  So yeah, the NYS Dept of Health will tell you all about relationship between Climate Change and public health, but ya gotta ask.  Some more robust communications efforts should be tried. Climate, Weather & Health "Everybody talks about the weather. New York State's climate is becoming warmer, wetter and more erratic. Unexpected weather is occurring more often. It's not unusual to see major storms, heavy rain or snow, flooding, heat waves, and sudden ups and downs in temperature. These changes are impacting our health and well being. "
  • Public Health "Vulnerabilities for public health detailed in Chapter 11 include illness and death associated with more frequent and severe heat waves. Cold-related death is projected to decrease, although increases in heat-related death are projected to outweigh reductions in cold-related death. Vulnerabilities related to climate change also include illness and death associated with ozone and fine-particle air pollution, asthma and other respiratory diseases including allergies associated with altered pollen and mold seasons, cardiovascular disease, and infectious diseases. Climate plays a strong role in the emergence and/or changing distributions of vector-borne diseases, such as those spread by mosquitoes and ticks. " (Page 11, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (2011)
  • The EPA just (Oct. 2013) released “Plans for Adapting to a Changing Climate” for Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight tribal nations) and this is the prognosis for public health in our region:   "Climate change is very likely to accentuate the disparities already evident in the American health care system. Many of the expected health effects are likely to fall disproportionately on the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the uninsured. The most important adaptation to ameliorate health effects from climate change is to support and maintain the United States’ public health infrastructure (USGCRP 2008). Urban areas are especially prone to increased morbidity and mortality due to heat waves and poor air quality that results from higher temperatures and dry conditions. In addition to air pollution and heat-related impacts on health, extreme weather events due to climate change will likely increase risk for injuries such as those from debris during storm events where high winds and fast moving flood waters are involved. In Region 2, recent severe storm events have also caused unexpectedly high incidences of drowning. Moreover, flood waters can expose people to harmful environmental contaminants, especially if the flooding affects people who live nearby industrial sites or facilities that store or contain hazardous materials. For coastal and waterfront communities, heavy storms can cause storm surges that overwhelm or damage wastewater and drinking water treatment systems with high water volumes or salt water. The result is that communities are inundated with sewage- and industrial waste-contaminated waters, the health impacts of which could be severe gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses. In PR and the USVI, potential adverse human health impacts are expected due to these previously discussed concerns, as well as increased incidence of vector-borne diseases and more frequent dust storms. " EPA Region 2 Climate Adaptation Plan 2013
  • Major local study “to help decision makers and stakeholders understand how to maximize the positive health impacts of water resource related decisions, while minimizing negative effects on the health of Rochester’s communities” just released.  Learn about impacts of waterfront uses on community health and how this Rochester-area study can become a model for other communities.   Healthy Waterways Healthy Waterways was a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the City of Rochester, NY's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) update. The project was supported through a grant from the Health Impact Project - a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. In the Healthy Waterways report, we provide information and recommendations to help decision makers and stakeholders understand how to maximize the positive health impacts of water resource related decisions, while minimizing negative effects on the health of Rochester’s communities. In so doing, we hope to create a statewide model for incorporating HIA in the LWRP process. University of Rochester Medical Dept. of Environmental Medicine
  • Here’s the major study connecting the dots between Climate Change and public health from World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organization 2012 that the US mainstream media is falling all over itself to avoid.  It’s only 68 pages. It can be easily read while listening to a sports analysis.  ATLAS OF HEALTH AND CLIMATE from World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organization 2012 | "Human health is profoundly affected by weather and climate. Extreme weather events kill tens of thousands of people every year and undermine the physical and psychological health of millions. Droughts directly affect nutrition and the incidence of diseases associated with malnutrition. Floods and cyclones can trigger outbreaks of infectious diseases and damage hospitals and other health infrastructure, overwhelming health services just when they are needed most. Climate variability also has important consequences for health. It influences diseases such as diarrhoea and malaria, which kill millions annually and cause illness and suffering for hundreds of millions more. Long-term climate change threatens to exacerbate today’s problems while undermining tomorrow’s health systems, infrastructure, social protection systems, and supplies of food, water, and other ecosystem products and services that are vital for human health. "
  • CDC - Climate and Health Program "Climate change refers to any significant change in measures of climate, such as temperature, precipitation, wind, and other weather patterns, that lasts for decades or longer. The world’s climate is showing signs of a shift, becoming warmer, with more precipitation and weather extremes. Potential effects of this climate change are likely to include more variable weather, stronger and longer heat waves, more frequent heavy precipitation events, more frequent and severe droughts, extreme weather events such as flooding and tropical cyclones, rises in sea level, and increased air pollution " Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Find out how our public health is going to change with Climate Change in our region--Climate Change Threatens Health: New York—because of Air Pollution, Extreme Heat, Infections Diseases, Drought, and Flooding by using this mapping tool from Natural Resources Defense Council – The Earth’s Best Defense | NRDC:    Global Warming Effects and Threats on Human Health | NRDC "Climate change is one of the most serious public health threats facing the nation, but few people are aware of how it can affect them. Children, the elderly, and communities living in poverty are among the most vulnerable. Click on a state on the map for more information on climate-health threats, actions being taken to prepare communities, and what you can do. "
  • More extreme heat waves, which are predicted for the Rochester, NY region because of Climate Change, can be mitigated if the public is prepared for this public health issue. Excessive Heat Events Guidebook EPA 430-B-06-005 | June 2006 "Excessive heat events (EHEs) are and will continue to be a fact of life in the United States. These events are a public health threat because they often increase the number of daily deaths (mortality) and other nonfatal adverse health outcomes (morbidity) in affected population " US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Because the Rochester, NY region has lots of poison ivy, a more potent poison ivy due to Climate Change is a public health issue.  How’s the planning going on for that? Potent Poison Ivy More than 100 plant species can cause skin irritation, but among the most well known is poison ivy. With our greenhouse gas emissions climbing and the atmospheric concentration of CO2 building, we expect poison ivy to thrive. A 2007 study by Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, supports this concept. His study exposed poison ivy plants to four different concentrations of CO2 (300, 400, 500, and 600 ppm). The lowest two levels correspond to observations from the 1950s and the present. The highest two levels mirror projections for the years 2050 and 2090 from the 2007 AR4 IPCC report. In this analysis, we updated those projection dates based on the 2013 AR5 IPCC report, which are reflected in the graphic and animation. (June 24, 2015) Climate Central
  • Report: Climate Change Could Worsen Ozone Pollution, Threatening Our Health and Economy | Union of Concerned Scientists "Report demonstrates how climate change could increase "bad" ozone, threatening health and economy " Millions of Americans suffer from the harmful effects of ground-level ozone pollution, which exacerbates lung diseases such as asthma and can cause breathing difficulties even in healthy individuals. Our new report, Climate Change and Your Health: Rising Temperatures, Worsening Ozone Pollution, finds that unchecked global warming could increase ground-level ozone, threatening public health and the economy. All told, health-related impacts could cost approximately $5.4 billion in 2020. And if global warming pollution continues unabated, these impacts and costs could be significantly higher. Read the report: "Climate Change and Your Health Rising Temperatures, Worsening Ozone Pollution " --from Climate Change | Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Northeast from United States Global Change Research Program "The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) coordinates and integrates federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society. The USGCRP began as a presidential initiative in 1989 and was mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-606), which called for "a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change." "
  • How will Climate Change affect public health in our Rochester, NY region? Global Warming Effects and Threats on Human Health | NRDC "Climate change is one of the most serious public health threats facing the nation, but few people are aware of how it can affect them. Children, the elderly, and communities living in poverty are among the most vulnerable. Click on a state on the map for more information on climate-health threats, actions being taken to prepare communities, and what you can do. "
  • NRDC: Health and Climate Change: Accounting for Costs Climate change endangers human health, and costs us money in both lost and interrupted lives and increased health care. In a study published in the journal Health Affairs, a team of scientists from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) partnered with university economists to investigate the health costs of six climate change-related events, and found the estimated costs totaled more than $14 billion (in 2008 U.S. dollars).
  • Impacts on Human Health | Global warming is expected to increase the risk of many types of weather- and climate-related illnesses —and death—for people living in the Northeast. The IPCC’s latest assessment of such risks across all of North America1 found that urban areas will likely suffer more severe and longer heat waves, leading to a greater incidence of illness and death, particularly among the elderly and other vulnerable populations. On the other hand, northern cities are also likely to experience milder winters, potentially reducing cold-related illness and death. The IPCC noted as well that lung-damaging air pollution from ground-level ozone could be exacerbated by a warmer climate, as could levels of airborne pollen. This may cause an increase in respiratory disorders such as asthma. In addition, outbreaks of many infectious diseases are related to particular types of weather that will be affected by global warming. Waterborne diseases, for example, often coincide with extreme rainstorms, heavy runoff, and warmer temperatures. The range and incidence of vector-borne diseases (i.e., those transmitted from animals to humans by mosquitoes and ticks) such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease also vary with fluctuations in climate. The IPCC projects that Lyme disease-carrying ticks could shift northward and other vector-borne diseases could expand their range as winter temperatures rise. Finally, many coastal regions are expected to face greater risks to human life and property from rising sea levels, higher storm surges, and changes in the incidence and severity of flooding." (Page 91,  Confronting Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast J u l y 2 0 0 7 A report of the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment)
  • Check out the official web site of the EPA on Climate Change and public health.  Climate impacts on Human Health "Weather and climate play a significant role in people's health. Changes in climate affect the average weather conditions that we are accustomed to. Warmer average temperatures will likely lead to hotter days and more frequent and longer heat waves. This could increase the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths. Increases in the frequency or severity of extreme weather events such as storms could increase the risk of dangerous flooding, high winds, and other direct threats to people and property. Warmer temperatures could increase the concentrations of unhealthy air and water pollutants. Changes in temperature, precipitation patterns, and extreme events could enhance the spread of some diseases. " --from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Climate Change will affect your health. What are your public officials doing to inform you? What are they doing to plan? Especially for heat waves that kill more folks over the long term than any other weather-related events. Climate Change is a Threat to Health: Heat-Related Illnesses As the average global temperature increases, heat waves will become more frequent, more intense, and longer-lasting. Exposure to extreme heat can have lethal consequences.  Extreme or long-lasting heat can override the body's ability to cool itself by circulatory changes and sweating. The consequences may range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Severe cases of heat stroke may result in death. The heat wave that struck Europe in the summer of 2003 claimed the lives of more than 70,000 people especially those most vulnerable with chronic heart or lung disease. It was a tragic example of what may occur more frequently as global warming continues. If a heat wave of similar magnitude were to occur in the United Sates, heat-related deaths would surge to more than five times the current national average. Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR)


Climate Weather and Health "Everybody talks about the weather. New York State's climate is becoming warmer, wetter and more erratic. Unexpected weather is occurring more often. It's not unusual to see major storms, heavy rain or snow, flooding, heat waves, and sudden ups and downs in temperature. These changes are impacting our health and well being. " New York State Department of Health

We are always under threat of a world-wide flu endemic

On one area of our environment, the spread of the H1N1 pandemic flu, the media is paying attention.  But, there's a lot of misinformation out there.  Get the facts from creditable sources:


  • Pandemic Flu What Monroe County Residents Need to Know There is no Pandemic Flu in the world today but there have been three pandemics in the last 90 years. Flu experts worldwide agree another deadly pandemic is a real possibility. Bird Flu is the most likely candidate and experts fear the virus could change and set off the next human pandemic. -Be Aware. Prepare. MyMonroe. Opening Up Government. | Monroe County, NY  What to do locally in a Flu Pandemic: Bird Flu Brochure by Public Health | Monroe County, NY
  • New York State Department of Health : Press Releases
  • Flu.gov Flu.gov provides comprehensive government-wide information on seasonal, H1N1 (swine), H5N1 (bird) and pandemic influenza for the general public, health and emergency preparedness professionals, policy makers, government and business leaders, school systems, and local communities. Help Share this Important Information Unless otherwise noted, material presented on the Flu.gov Web site is considered federal government information and is in the public domain. That means this information may be freely copied and distributed. We request that you use appropriate attribution to Flu.gov.
  • Keep up on all the Swine Flu News at the New York Times: Swine Flu (H1N1) - The New York Times " The outbreak of swine flu that was first detected in Mexico was declared a global pandemic on June 11, 2009, in the first designation by the World Health Organization of a worldwide pandemic in 41 years.  The heightened alert followed an emergency meeting with flu experts in Geneva that convened after a sharp rise in cases in Australia, and rising numbers in Britain, Japan, Chile and elsewhere. But the pandemic is "moderate" in severity, according to Margaret Chan, the organization's director general, with the overwhelming majority of patients experiencing only mild symptoms and a full recovery, often in the absence of any medical treatment " - The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia 
  • 2009 Swine Flu Outbreak - 13WHAM.com - Rochester News, Weather, and Sports 
  •  CDC - Influenza (Flu) |Avian Flu "The risk from avian influenza is generally low to most people because the viruses occur mainly among birds and do not usually infect humans. However, more than 100 human cases of avian influenza infection have been reported since 1997. Most cases of avian influenza infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry (e.g., domesticated chicken, ducks, and turkeys) or surfaces contaminated with secretion/excretions from infected birds. The spread of avian influenza viruses from one ill person to another has been reported very rarely, and transmission has not been observed to continue beyond one person."
  • City of Rochester | For Your Health and Safety Novel H1N1 Flu A novel influenza A (H1N1) virus has infected humans in the United States as well as multiple other countries, and the spread of this virus continues. Businesses and employers, in general, play a key role in protecting employees' health and safety, as well as in limiting the negative impact of the outbreak on the individual, the community, and the nation’s economy. The following information is meant to inform and educate the public incliding management, labor unions, and employees about appropriate precautions and work practices to minimize the risk of potential employee exposure, illness, and the spread of novel influenza A (H1N1) flu in the workplace, through general prevention and preparedness strategies. Rochester Health
  • Rochester Health - Rochester's Gateway to Local Healthcare Information RochesterHealth.com is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) community-focused online resource delivering local healthcare information. Featuring content provided by local physicians, dentists, hospitals, and allied-health professionals and endorsed by health organizations in the region, this online portal was developed for the local healthcare community to advance health awareness and access throughout Rochester, NY and surrounding areas.


CDC Travel Health CampaignTravel Health Campaign

Are any of these posters hanging around your town? The following posters have been released as CDC launches a national Travel Health Campaign to encourage healthy travel this flu season.

As the weather cools down, the holiday travel season heats up! If you are traveling through any airports, seaports, land borders, or other transportation stations we hope you keep your eyes peeled for our posters and follow the health tips as you travel.






Environmental Health Discussions

Get involved with Environmental Health Discussion online because it's not so easy to determine what diseases and illness are caused by a polluted environment and what the best remedies are.

  • Is Our Local Environment Collapsing? One of the great environmental concepts of our time is the realization that environmental collapse can occur so slowly that you would hardly notice it. Unless, of course, you are looking for it. We should appreciate that in this fast-paced world, where mankind has mostly developed it to his liking, because we are more likely to forget (or not even notice) important milestones along the way to environmental degradation. If we allow only our picture of today’s environment to define our definition of a healthy environment, we could be missing important clues about the true direction our environmental is sliding. Saturday, I attended a talk by Dr. Jared Diamond at Monroe Community College about environmental collapse. Mostly, Diamond talked about the collapse of the Easter Island society after it endured for 800 years. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Long ago Easter Island had a thriving human culture and a vast forest. Then, the last tree was chopped down in 1880. Then, the culture collapsed to a population of one hundred people. Now, the Easter Island plight is a metaphor for the delicate fragility of Earth itself and how we might be destroying it piecemeal like the Easter Islanders. more...
  • Green Warning Signs Recently, we’ve noticed several signs that our environment is undergoing dramatic changes. Some of the most salient signs are the mercury-ridden fish in all of our streams, the collapse of the Copenhagen Climate talks, the release of methane gases from the Arctic Ocean, and a great resistance to greener transportation and energy. In that vein, the auto show I attended recently revealed little interest or efforts in adapting our vehicles to the reality that the automobile and its infrastructure greatly affect the health of our environment. I thought after all that talk about electric cars and fuel efficiency I’d see a new day at the shows. But there were the same old sexy cars and trucks—except now they cost more, still had lousy gas efficiency ratings, and have far more driver-distracting gadgets than ever before. more...

Healthy Homes, Healthy Families "A guide to protecting your family's health by making your home A safer environment"


Our home environments can be healthy. Help get the word out. Also, feel free to share this link to the Resource Guide book



  • Reverting to a State of Green During these Extraordinary Times, where climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and our oceans are making human sustainability questionable, we must ask, how do we determine what constitutes Sustainability? But first, what is Sustainability and why is it so important? “For humans it is the potential for long-term maintenance of wellbeing, which in turn depends on the wellbeing of the natural world and the responsible use of natural resources…” (Wikipedia). In other words, we have to get Sustainability right, or the system that keeps us alive breaks down. You have to be alive to have‘wellbeing.’ We tend to assume that all those actively involved in monitoring our environment—official entities whose purpose is to monitor and maintain our environment, scientists, environmentalists, and the media—have at the very least a good idea of what a healthy environment looks like. Yet, I’m not so convinced that they do.  more...
  • Pandemic Flu, Getting Ready We want to applaud Monroe County's getting out in front on the possible pandemic issue in our area. It may turn out to be a mild flu season this years, but it would be irresponsible not to be prepared otherwise. Think seriously of using a hand sanitizer before you hand get near your face and check out all warnings, cautions, and information from this site: Public Health | Monroe County, NY Pandemic Flu | "Bird Flu. Pandemic Flu. These terms - confusing as they can be - are seemingly in the news daily.  more...
  • Healthy Debate Missing amidst the uproar on health care reform at the town meetings and the bug-eyed hysteria encouraged by our media is the link between our health care system and public health. Death panels, pulling the plug on our loved ones, socialism, deficits (mostly ignored during the war of choice), and even some cogent arguments that don’t embarrass us in the eyes of the world have been rung through the wringer that is called our media. It’s all as clear as mud, but politically the issues over health care reform are clear: defeating the present party on this ‘hot’ button issue offers new life to a party in search of a victory—any victory. more...
  • Global Health Don't forget you personally have a stake in the Climate Change Bill coming up: Climate Fight: EPA Sends Global Warming Finding to White House | Congress might be a long way from passing legislation to fight climate change, but the Obama administration appears one step closer to creating its own regime for controlling greenhouse gases. more...
  • Where's that pollution? A report (37 pages) that should be on your reading list this week is the new report by the International Joint Commission because it's about "programs to abate, control and prevent pollution from municipal sources entering the Great Lakes System.” The report’s object: The objective was to survey existing programs aimed at controlling surface-water pollution and to provide an overview of the current situation." more...
  • State Health Commissioner Novello Unveils State Health Department's Pandemic Influenza Plan Comprehensive, Wide Ranging Initiative Prepares State for Potential Health Emergencies ALBANY, February 23, 2006 - State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., today unveiled the State Health Department's comprehensive Pandemic Influenza Plan -- a wide-ranging initiative to help protect New Yorkers in the event of a worldwide epidemic of influenza. Many facets of the plan are already in place as part of the State's efforts to protect the health of all New Yorkers. New York's plan parallels the recently announced national strategy for pandemic influenza released by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The State's plan addresses New York's unique characteristics such as demographics; population density; and international borders; as well as public health and health care systems capacity. (Feb. 23, 2006) New York State Department of Health Maxim Health Systems provides a Flu Shots locator, Just Type in your zip code to find the closest flu clinic near you.
  • A great new environmental health blog from the University of Rochester Health Center: Blog are a ubiquitous entity now around the web and everyone gets their say.  But, some blogs because of their expertise and reputation rise above the usual. Check this blog out from the University of Rochester often and chime in. Community Health V.O.I.C.E. The Community Health VOICE (Volunteer, Organize, Innovate, Collaborate, Empower) Blog was created to serve as a forum for faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows at the University of Rochester Medical Center and our partners in the Rochester area and beyond who are engaged or have an interest in community-based health services, education, research, and advocacy.

Getting your flu shot and why it matters   Flu season is upon us and everyone should get a flu shot. Everyone should get a flu shot to lessen the chance that children and the elderly and those with compromised immune systems will get the flu. For, the flu (or influenza) is nasty business: “On average 41,400 people died each year in the United States between 1979 and 2001 from influenza.”Influenza - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. However, as bad as that is there is even a more compelling reason why you need to get your flu shot. With the flu there is always the chance that it will morph into a pandemic flu. Basically, a pandemic flu is when humans catch a variation of the flu that has been transmitted from bird to human or from swine to human. Then people die. But when that flu jumps from human to human millions can die quickly. “The 1918 flu pandemic, commonly referred to as the Spanish flu, was a category 5 influenza pandemic caused by an unusually severe and deadly Influenza A virus strain of subtype H1N1.”Influenza pandemic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. I suggest you read “The Great Influenza: The story of the deadliest pandemic in history”, by John M. Barry.” Some historians have suggested that over 100 million people died from this virulent form of the flu. World War I and World War II didn’t kill that many people. more...


The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment Climate change is a significant threat to the health of the American people. This scientific assessment examines how climate change is already affecting human health and the changes that may occur in the future. Climate change is a significant threat to the health of the American people. The impacts of human-induced climate change are increasing nationwide. Rising greenhouse gas concentrations result in increases in temperature, changes in precipitation, increases in the frequency and intensity of some extreme weather events, and rising sea levels. These climate change impacts endanger our health by affecting our food and water sources, the air we breathe, the weather we experience, and our interactions with the built and natural environments. As the climate continues to change, the risks to human health continue to grow.” (April 2016, U.S. Global Change Research Program 1800 G Street, NW, Suite 9100, Washington, DC 20006 USA )

Environmental Health Resources

Go to the major sites for Environmental Health

  • Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health "The mission of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health is to inform the public and policymakers about the harmful health effects of climate change on Americans, as well as about the immediate and long-term health benefits associated with decreasing greenhouse gas emissions (i.e., heat-trapping pollution) and other preventive and protective measures."
  • Concerned Health Professionals of New York "is an initiative to amplify the voices of hundreds of health professionals in New York who have been calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to conduct a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing. As health professionals who everyday serve and care for New Yorkers, it is critical that the public health and safety of our communities is taken into consideration before any decision is made on whether or not to lift the current moratorium on fracking in New York."
  • National Center for Environmental Health: Home | CDC "CDC's National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) strives to promote health and quality of life by preventing or controlling those diseases or deaths that result from interactions between people and their environment. "
  • Monroe County Public Health Department The Environmental Health Division’s mission is to provide public health services and leadership to assure the improve health status of individuals, families, the environment and the community. We strive to achieve excellence in the division’s performance to advance Monroe County as a leader in the field of public health. We collaborate with community partners to achieve optimum health status in the community and interact proactively with the changing health care environmental to assure that public health issues are recognized and addressed. The Environmental Health Division provides information, education, inspection of facilities, as well as emergency response to incidents that threaten public health and the environment.
  • CCHE Home Page The Center for Children’s Health and the Environment (CCHE) is the nation’s first academic research and policy center to examine the links between exposure to toxic pollutants and childhood illness. CCHE was established in 1998 within the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. CCHE’s mission is to promote the health of children by conducting environmental health and policy research.
  • Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center: "Our mission is to increase scientific understanding of the health risks posed by contaminants--at home, in the workplace, and in the ambient environment."
  • MCMS Physicians Dedicated to Quality Healthcare Since 1821
  • The Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health combines basic and applied research and education in biomedical and environmental sciences with a public health mission of clinical and environmental testing and quality assurance. Located in Albany, New York, it is the most comprehensive public health laboratory in the nation. The center responds to present and emerging public health threats; develops and applies the most advanced technologies and methods to ensure rapid, accurate detection of disease; and, through licensure and training, assures high quality performance of clinical and environmental laboratories and tissue banks providing services to New Yorkers.
  • Avoid mercury poisoning to you and your environment.  Those old thermometers, our fish, and those new energy-efficient florescent light bulbs (CFL) have mercury in them. Find out all about mercury and how you can prevent mercury poisoning.  Mercury Policy Project - Promoting policies to eliminate mercury use and reduce mercury exposure The Mercury Policy Project (MPP) works to promote policies to eliminate mercury uses, reduce the export and trafficking of mercury, and significantly reduce mercury exposures at the local, national, and international levels. We strive to work harmoniously with other groups and individuals who have similar goals and interests.
  • Asthma Awareness Month | Asthma | US EPA "Take Action During Asthma Awareness Month Asthma is a serious, life-threatening respiratory disease that affects over 20 million Americans. Rates of asthma have risen sharply over the past thirty years, particularly among children ages 5 to 14 (read more Facts about Asthma) In response to the growing asthma problem, EPA created a national, multifaceted asthma education and outreach program to share information about environmental factors — found indoors and outdoors — that trigger asthma. Although there is no cure, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental asthma triggers. EPA's goal is to reduce exposure to indoor asthma triggers and improve the quality of life for 6.5 million people by 2012. " --from US Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences "The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is one of 27 research institutes and centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH)  , U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)  . The mission of the NIEHS is to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives.   The NIEHS traces its roots to 1966, when the U.S. Surgeon General announced the establishment of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences within the NIH. In 1969, the division was elevated to full NIH institute status. Since then, the NIEHS has evolved to its present status as a world leader in environmental health sciences, with an impressive record of important scientific accomplishments and a proud history of institutional achievements and growth. "
  • Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 "The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is a United States law, passed by the United States Congress in 1976, that regulates the introduction of new or already existing chemicals. It grandfathered most existing chemicals, in contrast to the Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals(REACh) legislation of the European Union. However, as explained below, the TSCA specifically regulates polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) products. Contrary to what the name implies, TSCA does not separate chemicals into categories of toxic and non-toxic. Rather it prohibits the manufacture or importation of chemicals that are not on the TSCA Inventory (or subject to one of many exemptions) " Wikipedia
  • Finger Lakes Children's Environmental Health Center Environmental health hazards include physical hazards and toxic substances that may enter our bodies through air, food, or water. They can have many negative effects on physical, mental, and emotional health. These effects can include: Physical illness Long lasting injury Mental damage Fertility problems Miscarriages Birth defects Cancer Some environmental health hazards can cause effects soon after exposure, while others may not cause effects for many years. Being aware of these hazards and taking action to avoid them contributes to a lifetime of well-being. --from University of Rochester Medical Center

Bicycling along the New York State Canal Trail. Photo by Frank J. Regan.

Are you exercising on the wrong planet?

Many of us love running, hiking, climbing, skiing, swimming, and power-walking outside.  Pitting ourselves against Nature is an ageless pursuit that usually makes us stronger in mind and body.  But what if our environment isn’t the environment we think it is?  Maybe it’s not so healthy to exercise outside because of the present heat wave and the ozone alerts.  However, it’s not just the heat; our air quality has failed for the past two years according to the American Lung Association.  Our water quality too is compromised due to blue-green algae breakouts, endocrine disruptors, and pharmaceuticals showing up in water tests.  Our beaches are closed as much as they are open.  Swimming might not be good for you. 

I can hear your response: Deal with it, Dude.  Get some bottled water and toughen up.   What doesn’t kill us outright makes us stronger.  No pain, no gain.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

True: it’s in our nature to pit ourselves against Nature.  But what if Nature isn’t what we think it is?  What if our environment is getting so polluted that hard exercise outside is actually bad for you?  What if sitting around streaming mindless movies and chomping down chocolates is healthier for you than running or swimming?  If your environment is not healthy; you won’t get healthy exercising in it.  You’ll get sick.  You might want to do some biomonitoring because your body burden may be off the chart already.  more...

(Above scripts from Dynamic Drive


Don't forget the Environmental Health Issue of Radon: You can do something about it: Radon Test Kit "If you wish to obtain a radon test kit from the New York State Department of Health, please print this "Radon Detector Order Form", fill it out and return it with $8.50 per detector ordered. (New York State Residents ONLY). Requests for the form in an alternate format can be made by contacting the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Environmental Radiation Protection. " --from New York State Department of Health

Monitoring our Environmental Health

Many websites offer databases and other monitoring techniques for assessing for yourself the state of our Environmental Health

  • ToxCast™ Program | National Center for Computational Toxicology | US EPA In 2007, EPA launched ToxCast™ in order to develop a cost-effective approach for prioritizing the toxicity testing of large numbers of chemicals in a short period of time. Using data from state-of-the-art high throughput screening (HTS) bioassays developed in the pharmaceutical industry, ToxCast™ is building computational models to forecast the potential human toxicity of chemicals. These hazard predictions will provide EPA regulatory programs with science-based information helpful in prioritizing chemicals for more detailed toxicological evaluations, and lead to more efficient use of animal testing. --from National Center for Computational Toxicology | US EPA
  • Monitoring our Environment: Though a lot of indicators need to be monitored to assess the healthiness of one community, but arguably one of the most important is our environmental health.  Without a sound environment, everything else loses its foundation. This new project, which includes many specific environmental indicators for our region is especially welcome.  Take a moment to check out the various environmental indicators like (Prevalence of Pesticides, Air Quality, Clean Water, Population Density, Recycling Rate, Beach Contamination, Toxic Chemical Release, and more…) that suggest whether or not we are living sustainably—here in the Rochester area. Don’t form a critical opinion about the state of our environment without getting the facts.  This site works towards that: ActRochester : Environment From the rolling slopes of the Finger Lakes and the broad Genesee Valley to the spectacular Lake Ontario coast, nature has provided a splendid setting. Preserving our great natural resources is the goal of the many people who work to protect our environment. --from ACT Rochester : The goal of ACT Rochester is to build on community strengths to help solve our critical problems. ACT Rochester will achieve this through community debate, discussion and engagement based on objective, timely and independent data that can reshape our approach to community problem-solving.


Oil and Gas Threat Map: The federal government and some states are considering issuing rules to cut oil and gas methane pollution from existing sources, which would have a co-benefit of reducing associated air toxics. The Map was created to make the public and decisionmakers aware that this type of air pollution is a ubiquitous health threat that should be addressed with strong government standards. * Who created the Map Three organizations worked together — Earthworks, a national environmental group dedicated to protect communities and the environment from the negative impacts of resource extraction; Clean Air Task Force, which works to help safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change by catalyzing the rapid global development and deployment of low carbon energy and other climate-protecting technologies through research and analysis, public advocacy leadership, and partnership with the private sector; and FracTracker Alliance, which studies, maps, and communicates the risks of oil and gas development to protect our planet and support the renewable energy transformation. Earthworks, Clean Air Task Force, and FracTracker Alliance did the research and provided data that FracTracker Alliance used to build the Oil & Gas Threat Map.


  • Connecting the environmental health dots online. The beginning of a major effort by our New York State Department of Health (DOH) has started the kind of web site that only the Internet can facilitate a free, comprehensive way for the public to track environmental health problems like “birth outcomes, asthma, cancer incidence, childhood lead poisoning levels and cardiovascular disease, drinking water, pesticide use, radon, outside air and more.” I will keep this page listed on my Environmental Health and hope it grows into a useful tool to find out if the area you live in has special environmental concerns. State D.O.H. Launches Environmental Health Web Site  Environmental Public Health Tracking "This web site provides access to data about the environment and human health. It describes concepts related to how the environment affects human health and has links to projects that use health and environmental data. Our goal is to continue building this site over time to provide access to a variety of environmental health information."
  • What disease are occurring in NYS are where exactly are they occurring? County Health Assessment Indicators (CHAI) The New York State County Health Assessment Indicator (CHAI) Reports consist of a series of tables presenting selected public health indicators by 14 health topic areas. Each topic contains an "ABOUT" section defining the listed indicators, describing the source of data and identifying a contact person. These public health indicators and presentation format were developed with input from state and local health department representatives.
  • Health Action: Priorities for Monroe County HEALTH ACTION, Priorities for Monroe County, began in 1995 when the Director of the Monroe County Health Department convened a group of community partners to develop a plan to improve the health of Monroe County residents. The HEALTH ACTION Steering Committee is composed of individuals from community organizations representing business, education and health care The overall goal of HEALTH ACTION is to improve the health of the citizens of Monroe County by aligning community resources to focus on selected priorities for action. HEALTH ACTION facilitates collaboration and cooperation among providers, agencies and businesses to benefit the community by concentrating resources where they are most likely to impact health status. A healthy community is one in which the objective measures of health status are at optimal levels and there exists a commitment to health at all levels of the community.  You can view health Report Cards for Monroe County in these five areas: Health "report cards" are available for five focus areas: Maternal/Child Health, Adolescent Health, Adult Health, Older Adult Health and Environmental Health.
  • Being able to assess our environmental conditions is, I believe, one of the most important things we do here at RochesterEnvironment.com.  One of the best projects that I have come across over the years that helps in this respect, is the New York State Department of Health's Cancer Surveillance Improvement Initiative (CSII) - Cancer Mapping and Related Information The Cancer Surveillance Improvement Initiative (CSII) began in 1998. It is designed to answer questions of many New Yorkers about the cancer incidence in their communities. It provides maps of cancer incidence; maps of risk factors, including environmental information, also will be produced. CSII also provides information on cancer, its possible causes and how to interpret maps and graphs. Learn more about this project see About CSII
  • The New York State Cancer Surveillance Improvement Initiative (CSII)
  • University of Rochester Medical Center: Department of Environmental Medicine: EHSC The broad goals of this Center are to establish innovative programs of excellence in environmental health sciences by providing scientific and programmatic support, and to enhance the career development of talented environmental health investigators.
  • CLIC-On-Health Trustworthy, up-to-date health information for the Rochester region provided by local medical, public, and school librarians.
  • Children's Environmental Health Network is a national multi-disciplinary organization whose mission is to protect the fetus and the child from environmental health hazards and promote a healthy environment.
  • EmpireStat Through EmpireStat, Governor Paterson is using Information Age resources to reform and improve the way we provide services and spend your money – so that New Yorkers get maximum value from their taxpayer dollars. EmpireStat will start by focusing on four Performance Evaluation Areas in state government: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/JOBS PUBLIC SAFETY ROAD SAFETY HEALTH CARE AND VULNERABLE YOUTH
  • Tox Town is designed to give you information on: everyday locations where you might find toxic chemicals non-technical descriptions of chemicals links to selected, authoritative chemical information on the Internet how the environment can impact human health Internet resources on environmental health topics Tox Town uses color, graphics, sounds and animation to add interest to learning about connections between chemicals, the environment, and the public's health. Tox Town's target audience is students above elementary-school level, educators, and the general public. It is a companion to the extensive information in the TOXNET collection of databases that are typically used by toxicologists and health professionals.


Heatwaves and health: guidance on warning-system development World Meteorological Organization, WHO | "Overview Heat or hot weather that lasts for several days, often referred to as “a heatwave” can have a significant impact on society, including a rise in mortality and morbidity. Heatwaves also place an increased strain on infrastructure (power, water and transport). Clothes and food retailing, tourism and ecosystem services can also be affected, such that there may be socioeconomic “winners and losers” from heatwave events. In some instances, heatwaves may even trigger social disturbances at a number of levels. The impacts of heatwaves can be great and sometimes catastrophic, as manifested by the large number of heat-related deaths recorded across Europe in July and August 2003, and the Russian Federation in July and August 2010. While the effects of heat may be exacerbated in cities, due to the urban heat island (UHI) effect, the livelihoods and social well- being of non-urban communities can also be severely disrupted during and after periods of unusually hot weather. " World Health Organization

Environmental Health Reports

It's common now for universities and other institutions to conduct research on various environmental health issues and post them online.

  • CDC - National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals The National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals provides an ongoing assessment of the U.S. population's exposure to environmental chemicals using biomonitoring. Biomonitoring is the assessment of human exposure to chemicals by measuring the chemicals or their metabolites in human specimens such as blood or urine. This Third Report presents first-time exposure information for the U.S. population for 38 of the 148 chemicals included in the Report. The Report also includes the data from the Second Report; that is, data for 1999-2000.
  • Do you eat the fish and game you catch in New York State?  Better read: 2003-2004 Health Advisories: Chemicals in Sportfish and Game - New York State Department of Health The New York State Department of Health (DOH) issues advisories on eating sportfish and game because some of these foods contain chemicals at levels that may be harmful to your health.
  • Human Health Research Program (HHRP) | Research and Development | US EPA The program's science looks at such questions as why some people are more sensitive to pollution and how exposure to chemicals affects people's health. The site is designed for the general public as well as for the scientific community. "The best decisions are informed decisions," said George Gray, assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development. "The site provides easy access to research and results on methods, tools, and data needed to improve risk assessments to protect the public." Visitors to the site will find an overview of the research, information on how research has contributed to decision making, resource materials available in journal publications and reports, and a listing of meetings and conferences. New human health research Web site: http://www.epa.gov/hhrp
  • What is the Body Burden? How much industrial pollution enters our body?  What's in your blood? According to Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals 2003 conducted at the Center of Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, we know that today almost everyone’s blood contains at least one of these contaminants, most seen only in the last forty years—lead, mercury, cadmium, and other metals; dialkyl phosphate metabolites of organo-phosphate pesticides; cotinine; and phthalates…Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) Dioxins, furans, and coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) Non-coplanar PCBs Phytoestrogens, Selected organophosphate pesticides , Organochlorine pesticides, Carbamate pesticides, herbicides, pest repellents and disinfectants without know the consequences of these potential pathogens. You would think with all this pollution showing up in all our blood, we'd be concerned, that is, concerned enough about the full implications of these foreign elements in our blood before allowing more of them to go into the environment.
  • American Cancer Society Perspectives on Environmental Factors and Cancer -- Fontham et al. 59 (6): 343 -- CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians Cancer prevention is central to the mission of the American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS's prevention activities take many forms, but are primarily focused on modifiable risk factors that have been demonstrated to have the largest impact on cancer risk in the general population (with particular emphasis on tobacco use because of its large impact on cancer), and well-proven policy and program interventions. The ACS addresses nutrition, physical inactivity and obesity, alcohol consumption, excessive sun exposure, prevention of certain chronic infections, and selected other environmental factors through a variety of venues, including consensus guidelines (eg, nutrition and physical activity, human papillomavirus vaccination) and developing educational materials for health care providers and the general public. In contrast to the broad definition of environmental factors used by the ACS and most other public health agencies, some members of the general public associate the term "environmental" only with toxic air and water pollutants and other, predominantly manmade, hazards that people encounter, often involuntarily, in their daily life. This article will provide an overview of the ACS's approach to the prevention of cancer associated with such toxic pollutants in the context of its mission and priorities with respect to cancer prevention. CA Cancer J Clin 2009. © 2009 American Cancer Society. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians
  • Excessive Heat Events Guidebook EPA 430-B-06-005 | June 2006 "Excessive heat events (EHEs) are and will continue to be a fact of life in the United States. These events are a public health threat because they often increase the number of daily deaths (mortality) and other nonfatal adverse health outcomes (morbidity) in affected population " US Environmental Protection Agency


Pandemic Flu precautions from CDCFlu-like symptoms include: fever cough sore throat runny or stuffy nose body aches headache chills fatigue Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/  or www.flu.gov or call 800-CDC-INFO.