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Resources for Policy Surveillance

This report was prepared for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Law Program to summarize the research and results undertaken in the first year of a project intended to advance the understanding and practice of legal epidemiology at CDC and state, local and tribal health agencies, with special focus on policy surveillance.

Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure: Smoke-Free Policies

The Problem: Tobacco use is a source of chronic and fatal illnesses for users and people exposed to tobacco smoke. Second-hand smoke exposure contributes to 41,000 deaths among non-smoking adults, and 400 infants annually. Second-hand exposure can lead to stroke, lung cancer and coronary heart disease. Children exposed to second-hand smoke are at increased risk for slowed lung growth, asthma, acute respiratory infections, middle ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome.

The Effect of Occupational Safety Law Enforcement on Preventing Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

Workplace injuries remain a significant public health problem. In the U.S. there were 4,383 fatal workplace injuries in 2012, and an estimated 3.8 million nonfatal injuries. Approximately 49,000 deaths each year are attributed to workplace-related illnesses. A 2011 economic analysis found that workplace injuries and illnesses cost the United States $192 billion annually.  

Local housing policy approaches to preventing childhood lead poisoning

Childhood lead poisoning is widely recognized as one of the most significant environmental health problems impacting children in the United States, as well as many other countries. Lead is one of the longest-known, best-understood, and most well-monitored environmental toxins. Most (but not all) children with elevated blood lead levels are exposed to lead through lead hazards in older housing. Local policy approaches aim to reduce childhood lead poisoning by reducing the prevalence of lead hazards in high-risk housing, and do so by improving maintenance practices and controlling lead hazards.

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