ACUTE - Happening over a short amount of time.  
AGE-ADJUSTED RATE - Rates are a way to express how often an event happens in a group of people. Using rates lets us compare differences, between groups, in how much a disease happens. When a rate is statistically modified to eliminate this age bias, it is called an age-adjusted rate.   

AGE SPECIFIC BIRTH RATE - Number of babies born within a specified amount of time. 

AGE SPECIFIC RATE - A rate limited to a particular age group. The numerator is the number of cases or events in that age group. The denominator is the total number of people in that age group in the population of interest. 

AMERICAN INDIAN OR ALASKA NATIVE (RACE) - A person descended from any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) who also maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment. 

ANENCEPHALY - A birth defect that affects the closing of a narrow channel, called the neural tube, which causes the baby to be born without the front part of the brain or a cerebrum. 
ASIAN (RACE) - A person descended from any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. 
ASTHMA - A disease that affects a person’s breathing and may restrict the ability to get oxygen to the lungs. For people with asthma, the inside of their airways can become irritated and inflamed and this may result in wheezing and coughing. 
AT-RISK GROUP - A group of people with common characteristics that make them more likely to encounter an exposure or develop a specific disease. 

B 

BASEMAP - A layer on a map that includes additional geographical information, such as roads or rivers. 
BIAS - The result of a systematic error in the design of a study which leads to conclusions different from the truth.  
BIOLOGICAL MONITORING OR BIOMONITORING DATA - Biomonitoring data measure concentrations of a chemical or its breakdown products in the human body. Data are collected by analyzing blood, urine, milk, or other tissue samples in the laboratory.  
BIRTH COHORT - A group of people who were born during a particular period or year.   
BIRTH COUNT - Number of live births for a specified amount of time. 
BIRTH RATE - Number of live births per 1,000 people, also known as fertility rate. 
BIRTHWEIGHT - An infant's weight at or shortly after birth. 
BLACK (RACE) - A person having ancestry in any of the Black racial groups from the African continent. 
BLOOD LEAD LEVEL (BLL): A measurement of the amount of heavy metal lead in the blood, typically measured in micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL).  

C 

CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) - A colorless, odorless gas formed when fuel is not burned completely. CO is commonly produced by vehicles, generators, and other fuel-burning appliances. 
CARCINOGEN - A substance known to cause cancer. 
CENSUS - The count of an entire population. This census usually includes details about residence, age, sex, occupation, ethnic group, or marital status. 
CENSUS TRACT - Small statistical subdivisions of a county. Census tracts are relatively permanent, but they occasionally are split or merged due to substantial population growth or decline. Data at the census tract level allows us to detect trends within a county that might not be apparent at the county level.  
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC) - A branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting public health activities in the United States.  
CHILDBEARING AGE - Women aged 15-44 years, also known as reproductive age. 

CLEFT LIP/CLEFT PALATE - Orofacial clefts occur when the tissues that make up a baby's lip or mouth do not form properly before birth.  Clefts can result in problems with feeding, speaking clearly, frequent ear infections, hearing, and dental issues. 
CLIMATE CHANGE - Refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns that can affect our health, food growth, housing, safety and work that are primarily driven through human activities such as burning fossil fuels.  
 
COMMUNITY WATER SYSTEM - A public water system which serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents. 
CONCENTRATION - The amount of something. 
CONFIDENCE INTERVAL - A range of values for a variable of interest constructed such that this range has a specified probability of including the true value of the variable. The specified probability is called the confidence level, and the end points of the confidence interval are called the confidence limits.  
CONTAMINANT - Any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance that has a harmful effect on human health because of its presence in the environment. 
CHRONIC - Happening over a long amount of time.  
CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE (COPD) - A term given to any of several progressive lung diseases.  Two common diseases are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. 
COUNTY POPULATION - Census estimate of the number of people living in a particular county. 
CRUDE RATE - The number of cases or events divided by the total number of individuals in the population of interest. Rates are typically expressed as a number per unit of population, for example "per 10,000" or "per 100,000". 

D 

DEMOGRAPHIC GROUP - A group of people defined by the characteristics they share. Common demographic groups include age, sex, race, or ethnicity.  Other groups may be classified based on medical, behavioral, and environmental risk factors.

E

EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT VISITS - Counts of people that have been admitted to emergency departments, also known as emergency room visits. 
ENVIRONMENT - The environment includes all that is external to an individual. The air we breathe, the water we drink and use, the land and built structures that surround us. 
ENVIRONMENTAL PUBLIC HEALTH TRACKING - Environmental public health tracking is the ongoing collection, integration, analysis, and interpretation of data about environmental hazards, exposure to environmental hazards, and health effects potentially related to exposure to environmental hazards. 
EPIDEMIOLOGY - The study of the distribution and determinants of health problems. In other words, it is the study of the spread or pattern of sickness in a group of people. 
ETHNICITY - Belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition, for example Hispanic. 
EXPOSURE - Contact with a substance by breathing it, eating or drinking it, or having it absorb through the skin. Acute exposures are over a short amount of time. Chronic exposures are over a long amount of time. 
ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD - A substance or factor in the environment that might adversely affect human health. People can be exposed to physical, chemical or biological agents from various environmental sources through air, water soil and food. 
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE - The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, national origin, color or income when developing, implementing and enforcing environmental laws, regulations and policies. Fair treatment means that no group of people, including a racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic group, should bear more than its share of negative environmental impacts. 
EPIDEMIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS - These are primarily concerned with the statistical relationships between disease agents, both infectious and non-infectious and diseases.  

F 

FERTILITY - The ability to conceive, to become pregnant, and to give birth to a live child. 
FERTILITY RATE - Number of births per 1,000 women of childbearing aged 15-44 years, also known as birth rate. 
FETAL DEATH (STILLBIRTH) - A fetus that is not alive after leaving the body of its mother. 
FIPS CODES - Federal Information Processing Standard Code. 5-digit code that is used to uniquely identify a United States county. The first two digits identify the state and the last three digits identify the county.  
FOOD INSECURITY - The lack of consistent access to enough food to live a healthy life.   

G 

GEOCODE - The process of identifying the longitude and latitude coordinates of a location. This process is used to show data and information on maps. 
GESTATION - The period between conception and birth, usually about 280 days in humans. 
GROUNDWATER - Water found beneath the earth's surface that fills pores between materials, such as sand, soil, or gravel. 

H 

HAZARD - Any situation or event that poses a threat to human health. 
HEALTH - A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. 
HEALTH EFFECT - The result, positive or negative, of an exposure on a person's physical or mental abilities.  
HEART ATTACK - A heart attack is a brief and severe health event in which the heart doesn't get enough oxygen. This decrease in oxygen is caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle. A heart attack is also called a myocardial infarction (MI). 
HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS - Exposure to abnormal or prolonged amounts of heat and humidity without relief or adequate fluid intake.  

HEAT CRAMPS - Mildest form of heat injury that is marked by painful muscle spasms caused by dehydration and electrolyte loss. Muscle spasms, Involuntary jerking movements, muscle pain, profuse sweating, moist, flushed skin, or low-grade fever are common symptoms. 

HEALTH DISPARITIES - Preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by populations that have been socially, economically, geographically, and environmentally disadvantaged. 

HEALTH EQUITY - The state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health.  

HEAT EXHAUSTION - Moderate form of heat injury that occurs when body loses excess amounts of water and salt. Symptoms include headache, dizzy, fainting, heavy sweating, cold, pale, clammy skin, nausea, vomiting, fast or weak pulse, weakness, muscle cramps, and excessive thirst.

HEAT RASH - Skin condition that develops when pores are blocked and sweat can't escape. Can be acute or chronic. 

HEAT STROKE - The most serious form of heat injury caused by the overheating of the body due to prolonged exposure or physical exertion in high temperatures.  
Symptoms include altered mental state or behavior, not sweating, nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate, and headache. 

HEAT SYNCOPE- Fainting episode that someone can experience in high environmental temperatures due to temporary inadequate blood flow to brain. 
HIGH-RISK GROUP - A group of people who are more likely than other groups to experience a specific exposure or develop a certain disease. 
HISPANIC (ETHNICITY) - A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race, also known as Latino, Latina, or Latinx. 
HOSPITALIZATIONS - Counts of people who have been admitted to hospitals. 
HYPOSPADIAS - A condition that is present at birth in which the opening of the urethra is located below its normal location. This condition is caused by incomplete development of the urethra between 8 and 20 weeks of gestation. 
HEALTH DATA - Health data provide information about the occurrence of certain diseases and health conditions. 
HEALTH EFFECT OR HEALTH OUTCOME - The disease or health problem itself, such as asthma attacks or birth defects. 

I 

INCIDENCE - The number of new cases of a disease that develop in a defined population over a specified amount of time. 
INCIDENCE RATE - The numerator is the number of new cases of a given disease occurring during the time period. The denominator is the defined population at risk for the disease. Rates are typically expressed as a number per unit of population, for example the number per 100,000.  
INDICATOR - Numbers or data that are used to describe and summarize a broader issue.  
INFANT - A child from birth to one year old. 
INFANT MORTALITY RATE - Number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births during the year.
INFANT MORTALITY - The death of an infant before their first birthday.   
INFERTILITY - The failure to conceive after one year of regular sexual intercourse without the use of contraception.  

J 

K 

L

LEAD - A naturally occurring metal found in small amounts in the earth's crust. Lead can be found in all parts of our environment. Lead can also come from human activities including burning fossil fuels, mining, and manufacturing.  
LEGEND - The reference area on a map that lists and explains the colors, symbols, line patterns, shadings, and annotation used on the map.  
LIVE BIRTH - A fetus that is alive after leaving the body of its mother.
LYME DISEASE - Vector-borne (tick) disease that results in rashes, fever, and fatigue.  
LOW BIRTHWEIGHT - Used to describe babies who are born weighing less than 5 lbs, 8 ozs  (2500 g).  

 M 

MORBIDITY - Illness or sickness. 
 
MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION - Medical term for heart attack. 

N


NATIONAL AMBIENT AIR QUALITY STANDARDS (NAAQS)
- Standards (primary, secondary) set by the EPA, as a part of the Clean Air Act, that limits the atmospheric concertation of six pollutants of carbon monoxide (CO), lead (Pb), particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2)) that can cause smog, acid rain, and other air quality concerns.   

NEONATAL 
- The neonatal period starts at birth and ends at 28 full days after birth.

NITROGEN OXIDES (NOx)
 - The generic term for a group of highly reactive gases, which are often part of air pollution. 

NUMERATOR
 - The top number in a fraction or ratio.  

O

OZONE (O3) - A gas composed of three oxygen atoms. It is created by a chemical reaction between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight. Ground level ozone is in smog and can be unhealthy. 


P

PERCENTILE - A way to group data points on a similar scale. Percentiles give information about where data points sit compared to others. 

PERINATAL PERIOD – The perinatal period starts when the fetus has completed 28 weeks of gestation and ends seven full days after birth.

PARTICULATE MATTER 2.5 - Fine inhalable particles emitted into the air or formed when gases and particles interact with one another that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers PM 2.5 particles are dangerous because particles of this size can bypass the nose and throat to penetrate the lungs and potentially enter the circulatory system.

POLLUTANT - A substance introduced into the environment that negatively affects human health.

POST-NEONATAL - The post-neonatal period begins at 8 days after birth and ends 364 full days after birth.

POST-NEONATAL MORTALITY - Deaths among infants aged 28 to 364 days.  

POPULATION - The total number of people in a certain geographic area or in a specific group.

PREMATURE - A baby born before completing 37 weeks of gestation.

PREVALENCE - The percentage of cases of an illness in a population at a given time. 

PREVENTION - Stopping a health problem before it occurs. 

PROBABILITY - The chance that a given event will occur, expressed as a percentage.

PUBLIC WATER SYSTEM - A system that provides piped water for human consumption to at least 15 service connections or regularly serves at least 25 individuals in the past 60 days.  

Q 

QUANTILES - The division of data points into intervals or categories. Percentiles are a specific form of quantile where the division of points is equal to 100. Any range of divisions can be used. For example, if there are five equal categories then you have quintiles. 
QUINTILES - Dividing a given set of data points into five equal categories. When quintiles are used, 20% of the data points fall into each category. 

R 

RACE - Groupings of people based on shared ancestry and anthropological concepts. Race groupings are not biological designations but were instead developed for the collection of standardized data. These groupings are used by state and federal agencies for record keeping, collection, and presentation of data including data from federal surveys, census data, and data necessary to meet legal requirements. 
RATE - An expression of the frequency with which an event occurs in a defined population. 
RATIO - The relationship, as a quantity, of one part to the whole.  
RANDOM SAMPLE - A specific kind of sample taken from a larger population where everyone in the population has an equal chance of being selected. Random samples have statistical properties that allow them to make better estimates of the whole population than samples selected in other ways. 
REPRODUCTIVE AGE - Traditionally defined as 15 to 44 years of age, also known as childbearing age. 
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH - Refers to the conditions that affect the functioning of the male and female reproductive systems during all stages of life. 
REPRODUCTIVE OUTCOMES - Disorders that occur as a result of poor reproductive health. Some reproductive outcomes include reduced fertility, infertility, impotence, menstrual disorders, birth defects, fetal growth restriction, low birth weight, preterm birth, and developmental disorders. 
RESEARCH - A systematic investigation, including the design, implementation, testing and evaluation to contribute to the scientific literature. 
RISK - The likelihood or possibility of an outcome such as injury, disease, or death. For example, a risk level of 1 in 1,000,000 indicates that one person out of one million people will experience the outcome. 

S 

SECONDARY STANDARDS - Standards designed to protect public welfare from adverse health effects related to effects on soils, water, crops, vegetation, man-made materials, animals, wildlife, weather, visibility, climate, damage to property, transportation hazards, economic values, personal comfort, and well-being.  
SEX RATIO – The ratio of males to females at birth. Calculated as number of male births divided by number of female births and multiplied by 1,000. 
SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH - Conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality of life outcomes and risk.   
SPINA BIFIDA - A condition that affects the spine and is usually visible at birth. It is a type of neural tube defect. The backbone that protects the spinal cord does not form and close as it should, which can result in damage to the spinal cord and nerves. 
SULFUR DIOXIDE (SO2) - One compound of the family of sulfur oxide gases (SOx). These gases are formed when fuel containing sulfur, such as coal, is burned. 
SURFACE WATER - Bodies of water above ground, such as lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, bays, and oceans. 
SURVEILLANCE - A dynamic process in which data on health and disease in a population are collected, analyzed, and reported. 

T 

TEEN PREGNANCY - Pregnancy of mother aged 15 to 19 years old.  
TERM BIRTH - Birth at or later than 37 full weeks of gestation. 
TRACKING - The systematic ongoing collection, collation and analysis of data and the timely dissemination of information to those who need to know so that action can be taken. In environmental health surveillance, we are interested in examining trends of environmental hazards, exposures, and health outcomes.  

TRISOMY 21 - condition in which the person has an extra chromosome (2 copies of chromosome 21) which effects how the baby's body and brain develop.   
Occurs in 1 out of 700 babies. 

U 

V 

VECTOR-BORNE - A disease carried by a insect, rodent, or other pest such as a mosquito, flea, or tick. 
VERY LOW BIRTH WEIGHT - A birthweight of less than 3 lbs, 4 oz (1,500 grams).  
VERY PRETERM - Childbirth that occurs between 28 to 32 weeks of pregnancy, often called premature birth.  

W  

WELL MONITORING - Measuring well water quality using on-site instruments or laboratory methods. 
WHITE (RACE) - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. 
WOMEN, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN (WIC) PROGRAM - A program to promote and maintain the health and well-being of nutritionally at-risk pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children. WIC provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition, and breastfeeding information, and referral to other health and nutrition services. 

X 

Y 

Z 

 ZIP CODES - A 5-digit code that identifies a specific geographic area for mail delivery. ZIP Codes can represent an area within a state, an area that crosses state boundaries, or a single building or company that has very high mail volume. 

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