Resolution on the Environment and Human Health

Whereas in the last century, public health measures such as sanitation and vaccination helped wipe out many infectious diseases, adding 25 years to life expectancy;

Whereas despite modern advances in medicine, many chronic diseases are increasing among our citizens;

Whereas there is considerable evidence that many of these threats may be linked to factors in the environment, and therefore might be prevented;

Whereas in the Jewish tradition, the moral obligation to take action to save lives whenever possible is a supreme value which includes preventing loss of life whenever possible, and erring on the side of caution in setting health policy;

Whereas currently there is neither national coordinated tracking of diseases other than infectious diseases nor potentially associated environmental factors;

Whereas tracking where and when diseases occur and their possible links to environmental factors is the first step to preventing them in the future; and

Whereas personal health information must be kept strictly confidential, but aggregate information should be accessible to provide communities and health officials with the information they need to determine which environmental factors may precipitate the development of a disease and thus help prevent these deadly diseases.

Therefore be it resolved that the Rabbinical Assembly call upon the United States Congress to create a Nationwide Health Tracking Network to be housed at the Centers for Disease Control.

Passed by the Rabbinical Assembly Plenum, April, 2003