Dane County's Environmental Quality Assessed

Monday, February 27, 2012 - 4:05am

Public Health Issues Report on Air and Water Quality, Food and Home Safety for 2010

The 2010 edition of the Environmental Health Report Card has just been released by Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC). The report presents a comprehensive body of data and analysis assessing the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink and swim in and the safety of our food and of our homes.

The development of the report was a collaborative process involving specialists from environmental organizations, city, county, and state government and the University of Wisconsin.

Highlights of the report include

AIR QUALITY
• Air quality is measured by the Air Quality Index (AQI). The good news is that the vast majority of AQI measurements for 2009 and 2010 were reported as "good", which is the highest rating and where we want to be.

• Another challenge to air quality is the amount of small particulate matter in the air. Although Dane County remains in compliance with federal air quality standards, there were 5 days in 2009 and 4 days in 2010 when the average daily level of particulates was unhealthy for young children, the elderly, and people with lung or heart disease.

• The amount of reported point-source CO2 emissions (e.g. smokestacks) has decreased approximately 54% since 2004.
• No reported ground level ozone concentration (maximum daily average) exceeded federal or state regulatory standards during 2009 and 2010.

WATER QUALITY ISSUE
• PHMDC monitors chloride levels in Dane County lakes. The report indicates an increase in these levels, which are primarily driven by road salt. While current levels do not pose an immediate threat to human health, they could ultimately impact the ecology of our lakes.

FOOD SAFETY
• Four foodborne outbreaks were reported in 2009; a total of 2 were reported in 2010.
• In 2009, there were a total of 3,274 individual violations (as defined by the CDC) reported during 1520 inspections of Dane County restaurants. In 2010, there were 2,690 violations reported during 1,385 inspections.
• The most common violations reported during restaurant inspections were improper hand washing, cross-contamination, and unsafe food temperatures.

HEALTHY HOMES & COMMUNITIES
• The percentage of reported cases of childhood lead poisoning continues to be low in both the City of Madison and Dane County while the number of children tested for lead continues to increase
• Complaints involving mold composed approximately 20% of all environmental health complaints received by PHMDC in 2009. In 2010, mold accounted for 18% of such complaints.

SUSTAINABILITY

• In the City of Madison, approximately 59% of the generated waste was diverted from the landfill by reuse and/or recycling in 2009. In 2010, approximately 66% was diverted.

• Per capita usage of municipal drinking water usage has steadily decreased since 2005 at both the city and county level.

The complete report is now available on the PHMDC website at http://www.publichealthmdc.com/publications/documents/2010RptCard.pdf .

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NEWS RELEASE
Public Health - Madison & Dane County

Contacts: 
  • Jeff Golden, (608) 243-0302