In January 2001, the Pew Environmental Health Commission called upon the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent disease and improve the health of all Americans by identifying and controlling environmental precursors of chronic illness. Specifically, the Commission recommended that CDC and ATSDR develop an environmental public health tracking network.
The goal of this system will be to improve and effectively link data from three areas of environmental health tracking: hazards tracking, exposure tracking, and health outcome tracking. An effective tracking system must utilize synchronized methods to collect, link, analyze, interpret, and disseminate in a useful format, information from a wide variety of sources. This will be a tremendous challenge, but a successful result will provide information of the possible relationships between environmental exposures and chronic diseases and lead to interventions to reduce the burden of these illnesses on the American population.