Rice University, the Environmental Defense Fund and health departments in the city of Houston and Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery counties have partnered up to create the Hurricane Harvey Registry. Modeled after the World Trade Center Health Registry, which surveyed people exposed to fire and smoke on 9/11, the Hurricane Harvey Registry aims to collect information about environmental exposures and health effects after a major flooding event.

But, dear reader, the registry needs your help. People living in Harvey-affected areas can visit harveyregistry.rice.edu to take a 10-minute survey (available in English or Spanish) by December 21 to be included in the first report, scheduled for publication in early 2019.

The registry’s survey asks questions about people’s health and location before, during and after the storm. Even those not affected by Harvey are asked to take the survey, because their responses can have a profound impact on the lives of many, too.

The data will help researchers and public officials identify health trends, develop plans to reduce risk with future storms, and detail Harvey’s social and environmental impacts. We already know for a fact that Houstonians were exposed to increased air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, mold and more threats during and after Harvey.

More than 2,000 people have already taken the survey, and the more people who register, the greater impact the project will have, not only for Houston but for public health and emergency preparedness around the world.

So do your part. Cut off a slab of pumpkin or pecan pie and take that survey while giving thanks today. We did the survey in about five minutes. That's all it takes.

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