Rural Environmental Hazards Inventory and Associated Health Outcomes

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2008
Project completed:
December 2009

Exposure to a large and growing set of environmental pollutants creates significant health problems for our population. These problems are of great concern given the lack of good information about environmental exposures faced specifically by rural populations. Rural populations are potentially exposed to a variety of serious environmental risks from point and non-point pollution sources including industrial facilities, animal containment facilities, mining operations, logging and timber activities, agricultural activities, petroleum refineries, incinerators, landfills, sewage treatment facilities, and transportation routes. A comprehensive assessment of rural environmental pollution sources and impacts in relation to health and healthcare has not yet been undertaken.

This study will gather together a set of existing databases to create an inventory of potential environmental hazards and corresponding health outcomes, with particular attention to hazards in rural versus urban areas, and hazards present along the continuum of rural settings. Data will be drawn from multiple sources including the Environmental Protection Agency, US Geological Survey, Toxic Release Inventory, Energy Information Administration, US Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Area Resource File, US Census, Heath Care Utilization Project, and other sources. Population health outcomes such as CDC mortality statistics will be examined to determine if poor health outcomes are related to greater exposures to potential hazards. The final products will include the national inventory made available on the Research Center website for use in follow-up studies, and papers and policy briefs written for academic audiences and decision makers.

There may be products related to this project; please contact the lead researcher for more information.