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Environmental Quality Index - Overview Report
Lobdell, D., J. Jagai, L. Messer, K. Rappazzo, K. Messier, G. Smith, S. Pierson, B. Rosenbaum, AND M. Murphy. Environmental Quality Index - Overview Report. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-14/305, 2014.
A better estimate of overall environmental quality is needed to improve our understanding of the relationship between environmental conditions and human health. An environmental quality index (EQI) was developed for all counties in the U.S. using indicators from the chemical, natural, built and social environment. Included were five environmental domains: air, water, land, built and sociodemographic. The EQI is anticipated to be used in two primary ways: a.) as an indicator of ambient conditions/exposure in environmental health modeling and b.) as a covariate to adjust for ambient conditions in environmental models. However, other uses of the data are expected by different end users such as local, county, state governments, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and academic institutions.
A better estimate of overall environmental quality is needed to improve our understanding of the relationship between environmental conditions and humanhealth. Described in this report is the effort to construct an environmental quality index representing multiple domains of the ambient environment, includingair, water, land, built and sociodemographic for all counties in the U.S. for the time period including the years 2000-2005. The EQI was created for two mainpurposes: a.) as an indicator of ambient conditions/exposure in environmental health modeling and b.) as a covariate to adjust for ambient conditions inenvironmental models. However, as detailed in the discussion of this report, the EQI can be adapted and used for other objectives. The EQI was developedin four parts: domain identification; data source identification and review; variable construction; and data reduction. Each of these four areas represents achapter in the report where detailed information is provided on the development of the EQI. The methods applied provide a reproducible approach thatcapitalizes almost exclusively on publically-available data sources.This report is written as an overview to the companion technical document.