C.A.R.E.S. environmental health issues

Environmental health issues are any environmental factors that may have a bad impact on human health, or have an impact on the natural world that is bad in the long term for human health and the environments in which people live. Everyone CARES about environmental health because improvements in people's health are due more to changes in their environments, both indoors and outdoors, than to medical science and medicine.

Over the past several months, Garfield County citizens have identified and prioritized 44 environmental health Issues for the County. They are listed in order of rank, as of 09/22/10.
Environmental Health Issue Ranking
RESPONSE to ENVIRONMENTAL EMERGENCIES to protect human health should be part of emergency preparedness plans. 1
NOT ENFORCING ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS and REGULATIONS leads to environmental health problems. 2
BACTERIA and OTHER CONTAMINANTS in FOOD, due to unsafe food handling in retail food establishments and homes may transmit illness. 3
METH LABS create risks of fire and explosion and toxic chemicals that contaminate the interiors of buildings where meth labs are located and are challenging to clean up. 4
EXPOSURE to BENZENE from gas wells in proximity to residences may cause or worsen human health problems, such as nerve and bone marrow damage. 5
CHEMICALS USED in HYDRAULIC FRACTURING of natural gas wells may contaminate soil, ground water, and drinking water supplies. 6
POLLUTION of COLORADO RIVER WATER, used for human consumption, may occur if drilling takes place too close to the river. 7
FOCUS on SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY PLANNING helps people take steps toward energy efficiency, zero waste, energy-conserving transportation, green building, and natural resource conservation. 8
USING RADIOACTIVE MINE TAILINGS as CONSTRUCTION FILL allows leaching into soils and ground water with negative human health impacts. 9
DRIVERS USING CELLPHONES or OTHER DISTRACTIONS threaten the safety of others on the roadways. 10
ODORS and FUMES emitted from gas wells close to residential housing causes some residents to feel ill in and around their homes. 11

GAS WELL EMISSIONS into the AIR, including flaring and venting, release known and unknown substances which may cause human health problems.

WALKING and CYCLING PATHS and RECREATION OPPORTUNITIES would encourage physical activity essential to maintaining good health.
WASTE PITS at DRILLING SITES and BURYING WASTE PIT LINERS on SITE may leach, contaminating ground and surface water, and harm human health. 13
HOUSEHOLD WATER WELL CONTAMINATION by bacteria and other organisms, due to mining activity, grazing animals, leaking septic systems or storm water runoff, may cause serious illness. 14
HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE, including pharmaceuticals and personal care products, fluorescent light bulbs, paint, cleaning products, etc., may contaminate drinking water. 15
IMPROPER DISPOSAL of GARBAGE and LITTER on both public and private lands may contaminate water and shelter animals that carry disease to humans. 16
GROUND-LEVEL OZONE formed as a result of driving, fueling, solvent use, industrial emissions, etc., is a harmful air pollutant that affects human health. 17
DISEASES like Rabies, West Nile Virus, Hantavirus, and Plague are transmitted to humans by insects and animals. 18
EMISSIONS from manufacturing and industry sources, vehicles, open burning, forest fires, fireplaces, lawnmowers, and many other sources, creates outdoor air pollution that can be a human health hazard. 19
NOT ENFORCING LABOR LAWS and REGULATIONS leads to unsafe working conditions. 20
RADON, a radioactive gas found in soil, rock and water from naturally occurring uranium, with long exposure, can lead to lung cancer when it accumulates in homes where families spend time. 20
HEAVY LARGE-VEHICLE TRAFFIC on roads not constructed for them creates road damage and may be hazardous for other vehicles and roadside activity. 21

RELEASE of RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINANTS into water, soil, and air from drilling where a nuclear device was once detonated may cause health problems. {Note: There was such a nuclear detonation in Garfield County.}

MORE PEOPLE UNDERSTANDING the IMPACT of ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS on human health in Garfield County would improve residents' health.
EXPOSURE to LEAD from paint in older homes, imported children's toys, and tailpipe gases in high-traffic corridors may harm the growth and development of children, including exposure before they are born. 24

FARM ANIMAL ILLNESS and REPRODUCTION should be recognized as warnings about environmental exposures with potential to impact human health.
NOISE POLLUTION can produce stress reactions, such as increases in blood pressure, pulse rate, and hormone secretion, that over time damage people's circulatory systems. 26
EMISSIONS that may include Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) such as drilling next to Battlement Mesa golf course could affect the health of golfers and residents. 27
SMALL SOLID PARTICLES of DUST, created by construction, land development, crushing gravel, mining, and traffic on paved and unpaved roads, lodge deep in people's lungs and cause health problems. 27
NOT DEALING PROMPTLY with BEDBUG, TICK and COCKROACH INFESTATIONS lets them spread to other housing units and affects the health of other people. 27
WATERBORNE and WATER-RELATED DISEASE TRANSMISSION may be caused by storm water runoff picking up dangerous materials from households, construction sites, agricultural production, and other locations. 28

INFECTIOUS DISEASE spreads more easily when people are not fully immunized.
TRANSIENT HOUSING SITES may be sources of soil and water contamination that have bad effects on human health. 30
INDOOR AIR POLLUTION accumulating in high concentrations from cleaning products, fireplaces, stoves, paints, solvents, cigarette smoke, and chemicals used in building materials and home furnishings can contribute to a variety of health problems including asthma. 31
INCONSISTENT HANDLING of WORKPLACE INJURIES, ILLNESSES and EXPOSURE to HAZARDOUS MATERIALS makes it hard to develop comprehensive occupational health and safety programs. 32
LIGHT POLLUTION at night may interfere with normal daily cycles that regulate and maintain human health. 33
ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS from power lines and transmission towers may have human health consequences, potentially including cancer and other hazards. 34
ULTRAVIOLET (UV) RADIATION, whether from the sun or tanning beds, is the major cause of skin cancer. 35
OVERCROWDED HOUSING leads to the spread of contagious illnesses. 36
FLUORIDE in public drinking water supplies prevents tooth decay. 37
LEAVING ROAD KILL to DECAY on roadsides may cause health issues in humans. 38
MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE used on roads to melt snow and ice and reduce dust is a health concern for some individuals. 39
MORE OUTDOOR TOILETS would reduce the possibility of contaminating surface waters and causing illness. 40

You are always welcome to email your thoughts, or mail a note to: CARES Project 195 W. 14th St. Rifle, CO 81650.

Public Health - Rifle
195 West 14th Street
Rifle, CO 81650
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Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
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