Oct 3, 2018 in Politics

Over the past few decades, medical technology has been changing at an extremely fast rate. This is primarily because human health has become a major policy issue globally, as different states seek to ensure the health and safety of their populations.  The need to have healthier population raises the necessity to have capable human capacity which is a major resource for development. One of the surest ways to guarantee healthier populations is to ensure a higher level of Quality of life. The quality of life concept is considered difficult to measure, but through several indicators the notion of community wellbeing can be gauged. Health status of a community is one such indicator that can tell the wellbeing of a population.  This paper is intended to give an idea of the health status of the community in Warren County; New Jersey through the identification of the community’s health needs.

Community in Warren County of the New Jersey State

Warren County New Jersey has an estimated population of 108,692 as per 2010 population estimates. Warren County is considered as one of the largest in the New Jersey state, covering an area of 364.55 square miles. Its population is diverse and distributed fairly with an estimated 51% female population. Half of the county’s population comprises of people aged between twenty four years to fifty four years of age.  

Demographic and Epidemiological data for Warren county in New Jersey

Approximately sixty percent of land in Warren County is covered woodlands, internal lakes, streams and wetlands, while one third of the land in the county is used for farming. The county has a less population density in comparison to the rest of the state with an estimated 281individuals per square mile. The population as earlier noted is distributed fairly with half of the population comprising of 25-54 years of age. 13% are over 65 years of age while 28% are aged 19 -24. Majority of the county population are white (95%) blacks comprise of 1.9% of the county’s population. Hispanics are the second largest group in warren with 3.7% of the population while Asians comprise about 1.22% of the county population. Most of the county’s households are within the states median income threshold with an average income of $56,100. The county has less than four percent of its residents living below the poverty line. Warren County has 24% of its population aged above twenty five years of aged, with bachelor’s degree while those with high school diploma between the ages of 18 -25 comprising 15% of the population. The county, however, has a less developed transportation system as compared to the rest of the state.

According to Godin & Levinson ( 2004), Warren county has about $3 health care services provision institutions with more than 26 providing cancer screening services. This is because the county has one of the highest radon gas levels in the state. The most prevalent form of cancer in the county is bladder cancer, followed by breast cancer, colorectal cancer, oral cancer and melanoma cancer follow respectively. The county has a higher incidence of cancer in comparison to the other counties in New Jersey. These higher incidences are as a result of higher levels of radon gas and higher rates of substance abuse such as smoking, acoholism and drug abuse.

Windshield Survey

Driving through the warren county, one can easily notice a number of large industrial complexes that are susceptible to air pollution. Indeed, there are higher reports of offensive odors in the county that in most of the other counties in New Jersey. These offensive odors emanate from industrial facilities, sludge, and compost that increase the risks of respiratory problems. The county has moderate housing facilities and given that the county has lower levels of poverty in New Jersey the state, housing is not a worrying issue in Warren County. Health care services continue to be burdensome to most people in the USA. In Warren county, the inadequate public transport system can cause inconveniences to most of the county’s residents when accessing health care services. Warren has air pollution issue emanating from the county’s waste incinerator located in Oxford, from power plants and industrials facilities such as Roche, Oxford textile and the Atlantic iron pipe company. In 2004, a study on Asthmatic incidences was conducted indicating higher risk levels of respiratory issues owing to higher levels of sulfur dioxide. It should be noted, though, that the levels of sulfur dioxide are below the federal required standards. Radon gas in Warren occurs naturally owing to the county’s geographical location. Over eighty percent of the county’s water requirements come from ground water sources. In addition, most of the residents have underground fuel storage facilities (Albertsen, Mehta, Moore, & Shao, 2011). These storage facilities increase the risk of underground water contamination. Additionally, warren has a third of its land under cultivation. Farming operations are a primary source of underground water contamination, with such pollutants as nitrates, Volatile -organic –compounds (VOCs) and bacteria. The county has a history of improper chemical and solvent disposal such as benzene, chlorinated VOCs and underground fuel leakages. These compounds increase health risks to the county residents especially to cancer.

Problem statement

Owing to higher natural occurrence of radon gas and large industrial complexes that are susceptible to air pollution the population in Warren County, New Jersey has a higher risk of getting cancer. In addition, the county has fewer health provision facilities significantly reducing the areas. This increases the risks of cancer incidences in the county. This paper seeks to examine the existing data on cancer incidences in Warren County and indentifies the risk factors.

Historical Significance 

According to Godin & Levinson (2004) between 1996 and 2000, Warren county had a cancer prevalence rate of 623 in a population of 100,000 people among the male residents. While the female resident  population prevalent rates were  475 in in a population of 100,000 people. The mortality rate per 100,000 people was 234 and 166 for male and female residents respectively. These rates are higher in comparison to the rest of the counties in the New Jersey State.

Table 1 : summary of cancer statistics in the Warren County for the year 1996-2000

Estimated prevalence

Incidence per 100,000

Mortality per 100,000

All cancers Warren County

Male

1,500

623.8

234.3

Female

2,430

475.7

166.7

Cancer  by gender

Breast female

946

146

26.2

Cervical female

95

146.8

2.5

Colorectal male

180

79.0

21.3

Colorectal female

285

59.9

16.7

Lung male

56

91.7

62.8

Lung female

72

56.3

39.6

Melanoma male

118

26.4

5.6

Melanoma female

137

15.2

1.5

Oral/orpharyngeal, male

41

12.9

2.2

Oral/orpharyngeal, female

33

6.7

1.5

Postrate male

520

164.2

29.8

Data source : Godin & Levinson ( 2004)

In their report, Godin & Levinson (2004) noted that prostate cancer had the lowest incidence in warren as compared to the other counties in New Jersey.

Summary

Owing to higher natural occurrence of radon gas and large industrial complexes that are susceptible to air pollution the population in Warren County, New Jersey has a higher risk of getting cancer. In addition, the county has fewer health provision facilities significantly reducing the probability of cancer screening for the county’s residents. This increases the risks of cancer incidences in the county. Among the factors identified as the cause for the high rates of cancer incidences in the county is a high level of naturally occurring radon gas. In addition, the county has a large number of industrial complexes that pollute the air. Warren County has also a third of its land under cultivation. Farming operations are a primary source of underground water contamination, with such pollutants as nitrates, Volatile -organic –compounds (VOCs) and bacteria. The county has a history of improper chemical and solvent disposal such as benzene, chlorinated VOCs and underground fuel leakages. These compounds increase health risks to the county residents especially to cancer.

Related essays