The environment where we live, work, and play affects our health. The Rhode Island Environmental Public Health Tracking Network makes connections between health and the environment. Our data can be used to:
Compared to nearby states, Rhode Island had a higher age-adjusted rate of emergency department visits for carbon monoxide poisoning not related to fire in 2019. For every 100,000 people in Rhode Island, an average of 7.87 people visited the emergency department for carbon monoxide poisoning in 2019.
Note on age-adjusted rates: Some health conditions are more common among people in a specific age group. The number of people in a certain age range who live in an area can impact the number of times a certain health event occurs. For example, a neighborhood with more older people living in it would have fewer pregnancies than a neighborhood with more young adults. Using an age-adjusted rate allows public health professionals to see patterns in data that aren’t due to how many people of a certain age live in that area.
Carbon monoxide comes from fuel burning sources including: furnaces, fireplaces, cars, wood stoves, kerosene space heaters, charcoal grills, and gas appliances like water heaters, ovens, and clothes dryers. If installed, maintained, and used properly, these appliances are not a problem.
Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly, odorless, tasteless gas. Installing carbon monoxide detectors and regularly changing and testing the batteries can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Health effects from carbon monoxide poisoning can occur over a short or long period of time. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and tightness across the chest. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause permanent damage to parts of your body that require a lot of oxygen, such as the heart and brain, and may result in neurological damage, illness, coma, or death.
Learn more about carbon monoxide at https://health.ri.gov/healthrisks/poisoning/carbonmonoxide/
RIDOH's Environmental Public Health Tracking and Climate Change and Health programs are distributing small grants of $10,000 each to three Health Equity Zones and their partners to complete projects to help cool schoolyards, address inequities in greenspace and shade, build climate resilience, and educate students and teachers on the importance of trees, shade, and clean air for health.
The effects of extreme heat are not felt evenly across all neighborhoods. Schools located in areas with low tree canopy often lack outdoor green spaces where children can play and learn safely out of the sun; have hotter classrooms; and are subject to excessive heat for children when walking to and from school. Click here to learn more about this project.
Recently, a study titled Cake Decorating Luster Dust Associated with Toxic Metal Poisonings Rhode Island and Missouri, 2018-2019 was published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This details a foodborne outbreak investigation that was jointly conducted in 2018 by RIDOH’s Center for Food Protection, Center for Acute Infectious Disease Epidemiology, and the State Health Laboratories. Rhode Island’s investigation was the first to identify the "luster dust" cake decorating ingredient as an emerging risk for foodborne illness.
Press highlights include: