Environmental Health Profile & Plan

Denver, Colorado

Hazardous Waste

Colorado has over twenty superfund sites, abandoned hazardous waste sites where toxic wastes have been dumped; 4 of which are in Denver. At these sites, air, soil, and ground water have been contaminated by various compounds such as radium, uranium, arsenic, lead, and more. Community Health has majorly been effected by BPA and carbon monoxide exposure, as well as lead, mercury, and mold exposure. Various illnesses have been reported from contamination of water through the direct result of hazardous wastes. At the superfund site of ASARCO, Inc., exposure can potentially cause cancers. Possible non-carcinogenic effects from exposure over long periods of time include damage to the central nervous system, reproductive system, kidneys, and digestive tract.


However, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has developed a Brownsfield Program. The role of a Brownsfield site is to expand, redevelop, or reuse a property that has been overrun by hazardous waste, pollutant, or contamination. This program provides property owners with resources to facilitate cleanups at abandoned industrial facilities.


Air Quality

Air Quality tells us how much pollution is in the air. By using an AQI (air quality index) report, we are able to see how healthy our air is. Out of the 365 days in 2012, Denver's air was "good" 198 days, "moderate" 161 days, and "usg" 7 days. There were no "unhealthy" or "very unhealthy" days.


In measuring the specific pollutants in the air, PM2.5, PM10, NO2, CO, Ozone, and SO2 were tested and reported as follows:


  • PM2.5 range between good and moderate with the exception of 2 days being "sensitive unhealthy groups" - 53.8% in air
  • PM10 range between good and moderate - 11.8% in air
  • NO2 range between good and moderate
  • SO2 range between good and moderate
  • CO levels good -3.2% in air
  • Ozone range between good and "sensitive unhealthy groups - 31.2 % in air
In conclusion, all pollutants tested were in a good, healthy air quality range with the exception PM2.5 and Ozone a few days out of the year.



If there is an increase in the Ozone and PM2.5 again or more through out the year, health expectations would be respiratory symptoms, coughing, throat irritation, chest tightness, shortness of breath, etc.


73.8% of the air quality in Denver is good, leaving 25.8% moderate and 1.1% unhealthy.





Water Quality

Denver’s water comes from rivers and streams fed by mountain snowmelt. The South Platte River, Blue River, Williams Fork River and Fraser River watersheds are Denver Water’s primary water sources. The water supply is 100% surface water that originates throughout the watershed that encompasses 3100 square miles on both sides of the continental divide.


Overall, Denver seems to have good drinking water quality. However, there are some water ways that are impaired and many not tested.


AQUATIC LIFE WARM WATER-CLASS 2: Selenium was found

Health effects: It can cause dizziness, fatigue and irritations of the mucous membranes. When the exposure is extremely high, collection of fluid in the lungs and bronchitis may occur


DOMESTIC WATER SOURCE: Aresenic was found

Health effects: stomach pain, nausea, vomiting; diarrhea; numbness in hands and feet; partial paralysis; and blindness


RECREATION PRIMARY CONTACT: E. Coli was found

Health effects: Bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting.

Health Status

Cancer Risk:

A study on the risks of obtaining cancer through inhalation showed different pollutants that could have given a bigger risk for developing cancer.

Formaldehyde: 36.16%

Benzene: 27.41%

Naphthalene: 6.13%

Acetaldehyde: 4.96%

1,3-Butadiene: 4.79%


Mortality Rates:

Infant Mortality Rate - 6.1%

Adult Mortality Rate - 8.1%


Birth Outcomes:

Low birth weight is one of the leading causes of neonatal mortality in Denver.

The low birth weight is 93.1%, which is about 10% more than the national low birth weight percentage of 80.


Medical Action Plan

After reviewing known tests of bodies of water and finding pollutants, it is necessary to test all bodies of water surrounding communities to ensure the safety and health of Denver's drinking water.


It is important for home owners to know what is in their water, and with results not readily available to the public they are not fully aware of what is in their drinking water. Knowing that there are components such as severe as arsenic and e. coli in some of the water sources in Denver, what is there in other sources that have not been tested or released that we do not know about?


Therefore, it is essential that we test and monitor the water to promote healthy activity.

So what comes first? Make the call to the CDPHE addressing your concern of your water cleanliness and health.

Test Your Water!

Saturday, March 1st, 1pm

Denver, CO, United States

Denver, CO

The CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) will be making rounds to local areas to test water after findings of E. Coli in surrounding bodies of water.



Although they have specific requirements to test, they cannot possibly test EVERY body of water in the county. If you have your own water you would like tested:

1. Put water in SANITARY container.

2. Be readily available with the water and a printable version of the form located on the website by 1:00 pm at town hall when the representatives are out.

*note: Be sure the entire form is filled out: any pollutants found will need to be recorded from where it was found.


Depending on how many samples the CDPHE obtain, results could take a few weeks. Once tested, they will send a report in the mail to the address you filled out on the form with your results.


If severe pollutants are in your water, actions will then be taken.