Health Profile: Anchorage, Alaska

Taylor Madison

Hazardous Waste

Superfund Site: This is an uncontrolled or abandoned place where hazardous waste is located. This waste could possibly affect the people & the environment. Superfund locates, and analyzes these waste sites. This protects the people and the environment from contamination.

Brownfield Site: This is a property that if built off, or reused, could be complicated by the presence of hazardous wastes. The Brownfield's mission is to educate & allow places to work together to better care for the environment. Teaches them to prevent and take care of these brownfields.

These hazardous wastes are a concern, because they infiltrate the air, and the water supply, and then they harm the citizens, and the environment. Anchorage is working with both of these sites to improve the overall health quality of their city.

Air Quality

The Clean Air Act is a piece of legislation that places the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) in charge of monitoring the nation's air quality. It also directs the EPA to establish National Air Quality Standards to control the emission of certain substances that threaten air quality. Since the establishment of this Act, some provisions have been added in order to further protect the air quality. These provisions include

- A revision that specifically targets acid rain. This is in hopes to reduce the emission of Sulfur Dioxide, and Nitrogen Oxides.

-A revision that establishes limits on ozone in urban areas.

-A new reform that addresses the depletion of the protective ozone layer. They plan to do this by slowly getting rid of ozone-depleting chemicals.

Anchorage's Air Quality isn't as quality as their water. However, they were declared a non-attainment area for carbon monoxide on Jan. 27,1978. The air is tested and screened for certain harmful chemicals though.

1. Particulate Matter: This can cause aggravation of existing respiratory disease, and decline in lung function.

2. Airborne Lead: This can cause central nervous system damage. It has also been found to be a factor in high blood pressure, and heart disease.

3. Sulfur Dioxide: This can aggravate existing respiratory & cardiovascular disease.

4. Ozone: This damages lung tissue, reduces lung function, and sensitizes lungs to other irritants.

5. Nitrogen Dioxide: This can cause irritation of lungs, bronchitis, and pneumonia. It also lowers resistance to lower respiratory infections.

Water Quality

Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility is the largest water and wastewater utility in Alaska serving Anchorage. The utility collects water from the two major watersheds, Eklutha and Ship Creek, and several underground wells. Anchorage is known for it's pollution free water. This water supply mentioned above accounts for 90% of Anchorage's public water.

The raw water is treated to remove bacteria and other impurities, Chlorine and fluoride are added, and then the bases and acids are adjusted. Thus is then when the water is distributed to customers.

Health Status

#1 problem in Anchorage is Cancer. In 2004, 454.6 people per 100,000 had incidence of malignant cancer. Cancer is now the leading cause of death among Alaskan natives. This is a shift from the previous leading cause which was infectious disease. Cancer mortality rates here than in any other US white race. From 1969-2003, 6,000 Alaskans were diagnosed with invasive cancer. In a census taken, the rate of cancer cases was 8.4% higher than expected.

Birth outcome rates were divided into three groups: Alaskan white, Native, & US White. These results were taken from a 2005 count.

Infant Mortality Rate-

Native: 4.6 % per 1000

Alaskan white: 2.8% per 1000

US White: 5.7% per 1000

Low Birth Weight-

Native: 5.2% of 154 babies

Alaskan white: 5.5% of 328 babies

US White: 7.3% (n/a)

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