According to Madison’s Environmental Health Report Card, the city meets most requirements for healthy living.
The Jan. 24 report summarized major environmental-health issues in Madison and reported on the city’s progress towards achieving the Healthy People 2010 objectives, which address public health issues.
In general, Madison was in compliance with national standards and has made progress towards meeting HP 2010 objectives.
Water and air quality received satisfactory marks. Madison’s groundwater continued to be in compliance with federal and state water-quality standards, and the level of asthma in the Madison Metropolitan School District stabilized at 9 percent.
“[Asthma levels] are not in the extreme,” he said.
Several initiatives to improve air quality, like the Climate Protection Plan and Madison Area Sustainable Lifestyle Campaign, are in the process of improving air quality further.
“It takes a long time for these programs to have an impact on the environment, so it is too early to talk about the effects at the moment,” Hausbeck said.
To cut down on air pollution caused by vehicle emissions, the City of Madison recently purchased three high-power vehicles fueled dually, by both gasoline and electricity. And an area gas station has begun selling fuel with higher percentages of ethanol, which is cleaner and causes less pollution.
“Obviously, there are not many changes implemented,” Hausbeck said. “It is a good start, though, and we are going to make more progresses in the future.”
Although the report’s findings were generally satisfactory, the report noted areas in need of improvement.
The report found that mercury and PCB levels in fish from Lakes Mendota and Monona continued to be high in 2000. Lead poisoning prevention efforts did not meet HP 2010 standards, and the report noted that lead poisoning prevention is not up to par.
“Primary prevention of lead poisoning and screening of children at risk of exposure to lead will have to increase in Madison in order to meet HP 2010 objectives for lead poisoning prevention,” the report read.
However, the city has already achieved the HP 2010 objectives concerning smoking and the elimination of secondhand smoke through recent efforts to limit smoking in public areas.
The report said the quantity and variety of restaurants and other food vendors in Madison contribute to the ongoing challenge of preventing food-borne illness.
According to the report, “[r]eported cases of Campylobacter and Salmonella infections have been dropping since 1990 and have almost reached levels identified by HP 2010 objectives.”
Regardless of shortcomings, the report formed a generalization about the isthmus’ future: continued ecological safety and health improvements. “Overall, Madison continues to enjoy a relatively high environmental quality for a city of its size.”