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Environment
Section Newsletter
Fall 2008

Chair's Message



Here we go – APHA’s Annual Meeting is scheduled to begin Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008 in San Diego.  The Environment Section meetings will be in the Marriott Marina.  And we have a full schedule of program sessions (see the Annual Meeting Program listings in the newsletter).  Thank you to our planning committee and others who volunteered to develop sessions and review/recommend abstracts. You are also invited to join us at our business meetings:Environment Section Business Meetings: Marriott Marina

Sunday, Oct. 26, 8-9:30 a.m. & 10-11:30 a.m.

Monday, Oct. 27, 6:30-8 a.m.

As mentioned in prior messages, the efforts of all members are appreciated. And volunteering -- for those of you participating as officers or on committees know -- does not have to be an overwhelming or all-consuming activity.  In fact, we have many different ways that members can volunteer. For only a few hours a month, you can make a big difference by supporting Section work.  The Section’s current committees are listed in a subsequent article, later in the newsletter. And where are volunteers needed? 

One example is the Membership Committee that needs more volunteers and members who might be willing to chair or co-chair.  The good news is that the current chair and members have already developed excellent materials.  Those interested in continuing that committee’s work will do so with assurance that a system and tools are in place.  They can just step right in. 

In closing, thank you so much for your membership and for your volunteerism and all the good efforts that you put forth toward maintaining and improving the Environment Section and toward protecting the environment and environmental health.

Please contact any of the officers or committee chairs to share your perspective and join us during the APHA Annual Meeting.

Best,

Rebecca Head

rebecca_head@monroemi.org


Late newsletter addition, see information below about the Healthiest Nation Alliance:

From the Healthiest Nation Alliance Fact Sheet

What is the Healthiest Nation Alliance?

We are a group of local, state and national entities that have joined forces to build the truly integrated 21st century health system required for the United States to become the healthiest nation in the world.

What organizations constitute the Healthiest Nation Alliance?

The founding organizations are the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of County and City Health Officials. However, we are actively engaging partners from a variety of fields, including public health, medicine, third party payors, business, policy, government and academia.

Go to http://www.healthiestnation.org/  and to see an interesting video (though all text vs. images); click on "What’s Happening" at top, which will go to a page that lists a title of the 2008 ASTHO-NACCHO 2008 Joint Conference -- the video can be viewed and/or downloaded from that page.


Environment Section Officers

Chair : Rebecca A. Head, PhD, DABT (2009)

Chair-Elect: Sacoby Miguel Wilson, MS, PhD (2009)

Immediate Past Chair: Jill S. Litt, PhD (2009)

Secretary: Rebecca Love, MPH, CHES (2009)

Section Councilors: 

Amy D Kyle, MPH, PhD (2008)

Robin Lee, MPH (2008)

Doug Farquhar, JD (2009)

Maureen O'Neill, MURP (2009)

Governing Councilors:

Brenda Afzal, RN, MS (2008)

Susan West Marmagas, MPH (2008)

Anthony J. DeLucia, PhD, BA (2008)

Environment Section Committees

There are many ways that you can get involved with the APHA Environment Section. Below are just a few of the many opportunities. Please take a look and consider getting involved.

Robin Lee, MPH, CDC-ATSDR, Division of Health Studies/Health Investigations Branch & Membership Committee Chair

Committee

Description

Contact Name

Contact E-mail

Healthy Food Systems

Examining the interconnections between the environment and food production, consumption and the causes and consequences of national and local policies that support and complicate sustainable food systems. The Committee is interdisciplinary with members from the Food and Nutrition, Occupational Health and Environment Section.

Roni Neff

rneff@jhsph.edu

Built Environment

Connecting the built environment and public health. Activities include but are not limited to: planning sessions for the Annual Meeting, advising APHA staff, developing policy positions, and commenting on proposed legislation.

Peter Ashley

peter_j._ashley@hud.gov

Climate Change & Health

Seeking persons interested in the medical and public health impacts of global climate change associated with heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions. The committee intends to engage in informal peer-education and advocate for sustainable policy.

John Balbus

jbalbus@ed.org

 

Environmental Justice

Assessing the impact of unhealthy land uses and exposure to environmental hazards on vulnerable populations. Activities include: planning sessions for the Annual Meeting, advising APHA staff, developing policy, commenting on proposed legislation, community advocacy, and leadership development.

Sacoby Wilson

Liam O’Fallon

Wilsons2@gwm.sc.edu

ofallon@niehs.nih.gov

The 2011 (100 Year Anniversary)

Seeking ideas and support in planning of the 100th anniversary of the Environment Section.

Leyla McCurdy

mccurdy@neetf.org

Program Planning

Seeking persons to help organize the scientific program for the upcoming Annual Meeting

Barbara Glenn

Kacee Deener

Glenn.Barbara@epamail.epa.gov

Deener.Kathleen@epamail.epa.gov

Section Membership

Brainstorming and implementing new ways of recruiting and retaining Section members throughout the year and at the Annual Meeting.

Robin Lee

RLee3@cdc.gov

Policy

Seeking assistance in developing APHA polices on environmental public health issues.

John Balbus

jbalbus@ed.org

Awards

Seeking help selecting and organizing the Section’s Homer N Calver Award Lecture, Distinguished Service Award & the Environmental Achievement Award.

Leon Vinci

lfv6@aol.com

(Backup = Rebecca Head rebecca_head@monroemi.org)

Student Involvement

Seeking aid in bolstering student recognition and in coordinating the student poster and student scholarship awards.

Nsedu Obot Witherspoon

nobot@cehn.org

Section Website

Seeking assistance in developing and maintaining content for the Section’s Web site on the APHA server.

Yolanda Sanchez

sanchez.yolanda@epamail.epa.gov

Communications

Seeking individuals interested in organizing and writing articles for the Section’s quarterly newsletter.

Rebecca Love

RLove@dhmh.state.md.us

(Backup = Rebecca Head rebecca_head@monroemi.org)

Nominations

Seeking individuals interested in nominating & holding Section leadership positions.

Jill Litt

Jill.Litt@UCHSC.edu

 

 

Climate Committee Update

Committee Chair : John Balbus, MD, MPH, Chief Health Scientist, Program Director, Health Program, Environmental Defense

  • This year’s APHA Annual Meeting has no less than 10 sessions devoted to climate change and health. 
  • Two session highlights for those seeking greater involvement:

  • APHA has organized a session Wednesday morning to assist NIEHS with developing a revived research agenda for climate change and health.
  • Two sessions on Tuesday afternoon will be devoted to organizing the environmental health and public health nursing communities, respectively, on climate change related activities.
  • In July, EPA released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on regulation greenhouse gases via the Clean Air Act.  The EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson took the highly unusual step of publicly releasing multiple letters from heads of other federal government agencies that essentially deny EPA's legitimacy as a scientific organization and its authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.  Johnson himself then agrees with the Secretaries of Energy, Transportation, etc. that EPA shouldn't regulate GHG's under the CAA.  The ANPR contains a technical review of climate change impacts that provides ample evidence of why climate change is a threat to health.  The Web site for the ANPR and support documents is:  http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/anpr.html.  All members are encouraged to review the ANPR and submit comments to some of the hundreds of questions posed by EPA that related to health and climate change.
  • For more updates on climate change and health policy developments, see www.edf.org .

The Climate Committee supports the Section and APHA in implementing the recommendations of APHA’s policy on climate change and health.  This includes producing and promoting sessions on climate change and health at the Annual Meeting, assisting the organization in developing legislative language that helps meet public health goals in this area, and helping to educate member’s communities and local officials.  Anyone interested in participating on the Climate Committee, should contact John Balbus at jbalbus@edf.org.

The Environment Section’s Environmental Justice/EJ Committee

Committee Co-Chairs: Liam O’Fallon, MA, (ofallon@niehs.nih.gov) & Sacoby Wilson, PhD, (wilson2@gwm.sc.edu)

Sacoby Wilson and Liam O'Fallon invite you to join them for an informal discussion to discuss environmental justice issues and plan for the next year. All are welcome to attend.  The meeting will take place at the APHA Annual Meeting, immediately following the Calver Award Lunch on Monday, Oct. 27. Please join us as we gather in the same room as the Calver Lunch. If we are able, we will have the meeting right there. If not, we will quickly move to another space.

Questions about the Environmental Justice Committee?  Please contact Sacoby and Liam directly.

Hope to see you in San Diego!

Joint Social Hour: Sowing Common Seeds in Food, Nutrition, Agriculture and the Environment

Healthy Foods Committee Chair: Roni Neff, PhD, MS, Research Director, Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Join your Section colleagues and sponsors for the 3rd annual Environment Section and Food & Nutrition Section joint social hour on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. in San Diego. This event is an opportunity to network and strategize with like-minded APHA colleagues about building a healthier, more sustainable food system. The event will take place at the San Diego Wine & Culinary Center, just across from the San Diego Convention Center. There will be free local and organic hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. For more information or to RSVP, e-mail Karen Perry Stillerman at kstillerman@ucsusa.org .  Note that a number of APHA scientific sessions are relevant to the links between and among food, agriculture, environment and public health.

Policy Committee Update

John Balbus, MD, MPH, Chief Health Scientist, Program Director, Health Program, Environmental Defense

Only two proposed policies are cued up in the environmental health category of proposed new policy statements for this year’s Annual Meeting (review them at http://www.apha.org/advocacy/policy/proposedpolicies.htm).  One focuses on discouraging smoking in feature films while the other concnetrates on removing all lead from commercial products.  One other proposed policy on community water fluoridation would be of interest to members.  Finally, a late-breaking policy on transportation and public health will be presented.  If anyone seeks support on passing other late-breaking policies, or would like to weigh in on these proposed policies, please contact John Balbus at jbalbus@edf.org.

2008 Environment Section Program

Program Committee Co-Chairs: Barbara Glenn, PhD;  Kacee Deener, MPH, U.S. EPA Office of Research & Development/NCER & Bill Daniell, PhD, University of Washington


Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008

 

8:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m.

201.0

Environment Section Meeting for Members I

10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

221.0

Environment Section Meeting for Members II

Monday, Oct. 27, 2008

6:30 a.m.-8:00 a.m.

301.0

Environment Section Meeting for Members III

 

8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

3026.0

Indoor Air Exposures and Risk Reduction

 

10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

3083.1

Environment Section Student Achievement Award Poster Session

 

3083.2

Environment Section Poster Session II

 

3083.3

Environment Section Poster Session III

 

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

3115.0

Built Environment: Goods Movement, Environmental Justice, and Public Health

 

3116.0

Using the National Environmental Public Health Performance Standards to Strengthen the Environmental Health Infrastructure

 

12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

3208.0

Environment Section Calver Award Luncheon

 

2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

3312.0

Understanding and Assessing Hazardous Exposures

 

3313.0

Tightening Belts or Getting Fit? How Energy and Transportation Policy Choices Affect Public Health

 

4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

3404.0

Beyond Food Miles: Reducing Our Carbon Foodprint

 

3405.0

Environmental Health Concerns in Border Communities

 

3406.0

Health Impact Assessment: Lessons Learned

 

6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

326.2

Environment Section Social Hour

Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008

 

8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

4018.0

Environmental Justice Science: Approaches to Study and Address Environmental Health Disparities

 

4019.0

Tracking Hazards and Health for Government Decisions

 

4020.0

Industrial Agriculture: Health Threats and Solutions

 

12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

4173.0

Communicating the Public Health Aspect of Climate Change

 

4174.0

Environmental Contaminants and Health Effects

 

4175.0

Green and Healthy Housing

 

2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

4260.0

Climate Change and Public Health: Next Steps for the Public Health Community

 

4261.0

Built Environment Standards and Law

 

4262.0

Beyond Genetic Engineering: Modern Solutions for a Healthy, Nutritious, and Sustainable Food Supply

 

4263.0

Lead Exposure in Children: Vulnerable Populations

 

4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

4349.0

Blurring the Borders: Action Research and Organizing to Address Health Disparities - Perspectives from Southern California

 

4350.0

Health Impact Assessment: State and National Policies

 

4351.0

Weather, Heat and Health

 

6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Environment Section and Food & Nutrition Section Joint Social Hour

San Diego Wine & Culinary Center

Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008

 

8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.

5004.0

Environment Section Poster Session IV

 

5005.0

Environment Section Poster Session V

 

5006.0

Environment Section Poster Session VI

 

8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

5042.0

Environmental Justice and Health Disparities in Brownfields Communities

 

5042.1

Evidence-based Healthy Homes Interventions: Results from the Healthy Homes Expert Panel Meeting

 

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

5099.0

Obesity and Links to the Built Environment

 

5100.0

Environmental Health in Childcare Settings and Schools

 

12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

5150.0

Developing a Model for Evaluating Green Schools and Their Impact on Health and the Environment

 

5151.0

Climate Change and Environmental Health

 

5152.0

Local Environmental Health Initiatives

 

APHA’s Environmental Public Health Policy Update

Tracy Kolian, Policy Analyst & Amanda Raziano, Policy Analyst, APHA

Greetings again Environment Section members, from APHA’s Environmental Public Health Policy staff! We -- along with all of you -- are busy preparing for the Annual Meeting next month and will keep this update brief. 

As we shared in the last newsletter, there are a number of exciting initiatives ongoing in environmental public health here at APHA. As many of you know, APHA is a working with the Convergence Project and the Transportation for America (T4A) campaign to ensure that public health is included in the SAFETEA-LU reauthorization policy discussions. Dr. Benjamin recently spoke about the nexus of public health and transportation at the ASTHO-NACCHO conference and this incredible opportunity to positively impact health through policy change.

We are also working with Environment Section and other members to develop an APHA transportation policy statement, as well as a policy paper on the links between transportation and health. Look for additional information to be announced at APHA’s Annual Meeting in San Diego.

We also continue to build on the successful National Public Health Week efforts. We have partnered with George Mason University and others to develop a “teachable moment” presentation -- one that will enable public health professionals to educate themselves, peers, policy-makers and their communities about the health impacts of climate change. 

Finally, we are very interested in collecting stories about your experiences in the field of environmental public health. Stories are a powerful way to share what we do and the value of environmental public health. As an initial step, we will be collecting stories at our Environmental Public Health booth at the Annual Meeting. We will continue this effort over the next year and look forward to hearing from you all.  Please stop by, share a story or say hello in San Diego!

National Conference of State Legislatures 2008 State Environmental Public Health Legislative Update

Doug Farquhar, JD & Chris Bui, MPH

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Environmental Health Project has completed its update of state environmental public health legislation for 2007-2008.  The database of state legislation can be found at: https://www.ncsl.org/programs/environ/envhealth/ehdatabases.htm

The 2008 state legislative session saw a resurgence of interest in children's environmental health.  Of the 44 states that held regular sessions in 2008, 35 state legislatures introduced bills dealing with children's environmental health, focusing on issues such as children's exposure to tobacco smoke, prohibiting the manufacture or distribution of phthalates, bisphenol-A or lead-containing products, or limits on pesticide applications around schools or at public events.

But this interest in children's environmental health did not limit the number of bills being introduced on other topics.  Legislation on biomonitoring, indoor smoking bans, radon control, mercury, tracking and surveillance, as well as general laws on the regulation of toxics were heard, reviewed, amended, reheard, and if survived this scrutiny, passed the legislature for the governor's desk.  In some instances, governors did veto certain bills or certain parts of bills.

Overall, of the 530 bills introduced in 2008 on environmental health, 78 bills in 29 states became law.  This is less than the 146 bills that were adopted on environmental health during the 2007 sessions or 121 bills enacted in 2006.  However, several states -- California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin -- remain in session and could adopt legislation from 2008 as late as January 2009.

With its unlimited bill introduction, New York usually leads in the number of bills introduced, along with the lowest percentage in passage.  This year, the states of Illinois and New Jersey led with the most bills on environmental health, with 50 being introduced in Illinois and 51 in the Garden State.  Maine passed 12 environmental health bills in 2008 on a range of topics, including indoor air quality, lead hazards and pesticide control.  California also remains at the forefront of environmental health policy with legislation seeking to curb or ban certain chemicals, bills to monitor toxic discharges into waterways, recycling of mercury from thermometers, requirements for indoor air in schools and assessments of water toxicity levels in schools, preparations of environmental impact statements before spraying pesticides in urban areas, to name a few.  Maryland, Michigan and Washington also have progressive bills on environmental health. 

Certain highlights of the 2008 legislative sessions include:

Children's Environmental Health

The numerous recalls of children's products in August 2007 along with the media coverage of foreign-manufactured products with lead and other toxics created a public groundswell demanding stricter controls on toys and other children's products.  With efforts at the federal levels being unsatisfactory, legislators in 21 states took it upon themselves to ensure children are safe from lead-containing products, from phthalates, from cadmium and bisphenal-A in toys, jewelry, and other products designed for or used by children.

Washington (HB 2647; Wash. Laws, Chap. 288 (2008)) enacted a limit on certain chemicals in children's products, with a limit of 0.1 percent by weight for phthalates, 0.004 percent of cadmium by weight, and a reduction of lead from 600 ppm (the current federal standard) to 90 ppm, making it the strictest standard in the country.  After adopting A.B. 1108 (Sess. 2007), California now prohibits the manufacture, sale, or distribution of certain toys and child care articles containing phthalates above 0.1 of 1 percent (2007 Cal. Stats., Chap. 672).  Vermont enacted a similar ban on phthalates (SB 261; 2008 Vt. Acts, Act 171) in May 2008, and limited lead content in children's products to 100 ppm by 2010 (SB 152, 2008 Vt. Acts, Act 193).  Maine took a different approach by having the state maintain a list of "high-priority" chemicals, mandating disclosure of such chemicals in products, and requiring manufactures to use "safer" alternatives if available. (2008 Me. Laws, Chap. 643).

Fourteen states sought stricter controls on lead in jewelry, toys and consumer products, with Michigan adopting HB 4132 (2008 Mich. Pub. Acts, Act 161) and Minnesota adopting SB 1262 (2007 Minn. Laws, Chap. 325E), both following the Federal Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) standards of 600 ppm, or 0.06 percent lead by weight.

Connecticut HB 5650 (2008 Conn. Acts, P.A. No. 08-106 (Reg. Sess.)), Delaware HS1 for HB 362 (Vol. 76 Del. Laws, Chap. 358), New Jersey SB 285 (2008 N.J. Laws, Chap. 124)) and Oregon HB 3631 (2008 Or., Laws, Chap. 31) chose to make the CSPC voluntary recalls mandatory in their states, following the leads of Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Rhode Island and Vermont which passed similar bills prior to 2008.  Mississippi's mandatory recall legislation (HB 1240) was vetoed by their governor in April 2008. 

Indoor Air Quality

Most states addressing indoor air quality sought to ban smoking in public areas such as restaurants, bars, government buildings and schools.  Twelve states enacted smoking bans.  Illinois adopted the Smoke Free Illinois Act (2007 Ill. Laws, P.A. 95-17).  Pennsylvania adopted the similar Smoke Free Pennsylvania Act (2008 Pa. Laws, Act 2008-27).  Maine prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle when a person under 16 years of age is present in that vehicle (Me. Laws, Chap. 591).  North Carolina banned smoking in government buildings (N.C. Sess. Laws, Chap. 2007-193); and Tennessee adopted to Non-Smoker Protection Act (2007 Tenn. Pub. Acts, Chap. 410).  New Hampshire, on the other hand, sought to exempt restaurants where more than 50 percent of the income is derived from cigars (H.B. 1421 (Sess. 2008).  Indiana and New Hampshire looked at air quality in schools. Indiana HB 1185 (2008 Ind. Acts, P.L. 79) expands the state's school indoor air quality inspection program.  A commission will study air quality issues in public schools and make legislative recommendations in New Hampshire under HB 1171 (2008 N.H. Laws, Chap. 0242). 

Lead Hazards

Beyond limits to lead-containing products in children's products, 20 states sought to address lead hazard control inspections, certifications, training or abatement policies.  Illinois adopted the Comprehensive Lead Education, Reduction, and Window Replacement Program Act (2008 Ill. Laws, P.A. 95-492).  Maine LD 555 requires notices to the occupant before a renovators disturbs lead-based paint (2007 Me. Laws, Chap. 238).  Non-profit charities are exempt from liability for non-intentional lead poisoning in Michigan under Public Act 45 (2008 Mich. Pub. Acts, Act 45).

New York unsuccessfully tried to adopt legislation to use Medicaid funds for a lead poisoning intervention demonstration program to be known as the New York State Healthy Homes Demonstration Program (N.Y. A.B. 2121 (Sess. 2008)).

Mercury

In 26 states, 55 bills were introduced to look at mercury exposure, mostly from thermometers, vaccinations, dental fillings or fluorescent lights.  Delaware (Vol. 76 Del. Laws, Chap. 229) prohibits mercury from being given to children or pregnant women.  Maryland removed the prohibition on mercury in vaccines, but banned it in cosmetics (2008 Md. Laws., Chap. 169).  Iowa banned the sale of mercury thermometers, and required old thermometers be disposed of as a hazardous waste (2008 Iowa Acts, Chap. 455D).  New Hampshire created mercury-added thermostat collection program, which requires manufacturers of thermostats to establish a collection and recycling program for out-of-service thermostats (2008 N.H. Laws., Chap. 0383).

Radon Exposure

In the 2007 through 2008 legislative sessions, 18 states passed 60 bills related to radon.  In 11 states, legislators introduced legislation requiring notice of the presence of radon in homes.  Arizona required disclosure to new home buyers if a home is located in a high radon area.  (2007 Ariz. Laws, Chap. 76).  Illinois requires residential real property disclosure report include the disclosure of the seller's awareness of radon hazards (2008 Ill. Laws, P.A. 216).  Kansas imposes conditions on real estate appraisals and sales contracts; requires notice of radon gas on contracts and information regarding a radon mitigation technician (2008 Kan. Sess. Laws, Chap. 153).  Tennessee S.B 641 (Sess. 2008) encourages schools to test for radon (2008 Tenn. Pub. Acts, Chap. 291).  If a municipality in Maine seeks to adopt a radon code, they must now follow a standard recommended by the American Society for Testing and Material (2007 Me. Laws, Chap. 90).

Asbestos

Although 19 states introduced 44 bills on asbestos in 2007, only nine states introduced legislation in 2008, with only three being enacted (five remain pending).  Connecticut H.B. 5730 authorizes direct restitution to a property owner harmed by actions of a licensed asbestos worker for improper disposal (2008 Conn. Acts, P.A. 137).  Georgia looked at asbestos and silica claims and now requires physical impairment be an essential element of a claim (2007 Ga. Laws, Chap. 9).  Texas also added requirements for asbestos-related claims (2008 Tex. Gen. Laws, Chap. 393). 

Hawaii mandates that the department of education is responsible for testing for all asbestos-containing materials in schools (2007 Hawaii Sess. Laws, Act 3).

Pesticides

States sought laws on pesticides, limiting use around schools or playgrounds, requiring notice be posted after application, or requiring other sorts of demarcations.  New Jersey is seeking to require silver flags to demarcate pesticide use (A.B. 1592 (Sess. 2008)).  California has five bills pending regarding the aerial spraying of pesticides for the light brown apple moth, an invasive species from Australia that damages crops, and Washington also looked into the health effects of pesticide drift from aerial spraying (H.B. 1810 (Sess. 2007)).  Hawaii had three bills seeking the develop an action plan for addressing incidents of pesticide exposure at public schools.

Maine adopted a substantive pesticide law, that addresses (among other things) pesticides introduced into a living plant through genetic engineering (2008 Me. Laws., Chap. 484). 

Sixteen states appropriated funds to limit the spread of West Nile Virus through mosquito control efforts.

Biomonitoring

Biomonitoring, which is the direct measurement of people's exposure to toxic substances in the environment by measuring the substances or their metabolites in human specimens, such as blood or urine, has garnered legislative interest in 2008.  Illinois adopted the National Guard Veterans Exposure to Hazardous Materials Act, which seeks to discover whether vets were exposed to Agent Orange or Uranium (2008 Ill. Laws., P.A. 597).  Hawaii had four bills looking into screening for environmental toxins in military veterans.  Vermont's HB 138 (Sess. 2008) also sought to provide this service.

Minnesota passed legislation to look into environmental toxins in workers (2008 Minn. Laws, Chap. 248).  Indiana, Kentucky and Rhode Island also had legislation looking into biomonitoring.

NOTE: The above summarizes state legislation and is property of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). This information is intended for the sole use by state legislatures. NCSL makes no promises, express or implied, regarding the accuracy of this information.

Doug Farquhar is an attorney who directs the Environmental Health Program at NCSL. Chris Bui is a law clerk from the University of Denver who received his Masters of Public Health degree with an Environmental and Occupational Health concentration from Drexel University.

HCUP’s 2006 NIS Released

P. Hannah Davis, Manager, HCUP User Support, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) announces the availability of the 2006 Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS). Released in May, the NIS is the largest inpatient care database including all patients, regardless of payer — covering Medicare, Medicaid, privately insured, and uninsured patients.

The 2006 NIS includes 8 million discharge records from more than 1,000 hospitals and includes data drawn from 38 states. NIS data can be weighted to produce national estimates, allowing researchers and policy-makers to identify, track and analyze national trends in health care utilization, access, charges, quality and outcomes. The NIS is considered by health services researchers to be one of the most reliable and affordable databases for studying important health care topics.

The 2006 NIS and other HCUP databases are available through the HCUP Central Distributor at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/tech_assist/centdist.jsp. Additional information on the NIS is available on the HCUP User Support Web site at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/nisoverview.jsp.

HCUP is a family of health care databases and related products developed by AHRQ through a federal-state-industry partnership. HCUP produces powerful, comprehensive, health care data that can be used to identify, track, and analyze national, regional, and state trends in health care utilization, access, charges, quality, and outcomes. Additional information about HCUP’s databases and products is available on its User Support Website: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov.

HCUP’s 2006 KID Now Available!

Released every three years since the 1997 data year, the 2006 Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) was released in June by the AHRQ Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). The KID is the only dataset in the United States designed specifically to study hospital use, outcomes, and charges in the pediatric population. The KID includes all patients under age 21 regardless of payer.

The 2006 KID includes data from 3,739 hospitals in 38 states. The KID can be weighted to produce national estimates, allowing researchers and policy-makers to use the data to identify, track, and analyze national trends in pediatric health care issues.

The 2006 KID is available for purchase through the HCUP Central Distributor at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/tech_assist/centdist.jsp. Additional information on the KID is available on the HCUP User Support Web site at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/kidoverview.jsp.

Additional information about HCUP’s databases and products is available on its User Support Website: http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov

Prevention is Primary

Larry Cohen & Sana Chehimi, Prevention Institute, & Vivian Chavez, San Francisco State University

“Highly walkable neighborhoods are characterized by high density, high land use mix, high connectivity, good walking infrastructure, pleasing aesthetics, and safety.  In general, people in highly walkable neighborhoods record more walking trips per week, especially for errands and going to work.”

From Prevention is Primary, the landmark textbook co-edited by Prevention Institute’s Larry Cohen and Sana Chehimi along with Vivian Chavez of SFSU, now available! www.preventioninstitute.org

A New Vision of Health for California: Good Health Counts

Rachel A. Davis, Managing Director, Prevention Institute

A new hope for good health is burgeoning in communities across California. There is a growing desire to better understand how health is impacted by elements in the community environment and how diverse sectors can begin working together to achieve meaningful community change.

 

The Good Health Counts Project promulgates a community health approach that expands the traditional understanding of health from an exclusively medical model to include the role of social and physical determinants that contribute to good health or detract from it. In November 2007, the Prevention Institute released Good Health Counts: A 21st Century Approach to Health and Community for California, with support from the California Endowment.  The report outlines a community health framework and provides tools for community groups, practitioners, advocates, government agencies, elected officials, and others to build capacity and support efforts in promoting community health.  Project efforts also focus on gaining a better understanding about how various sectors can contribute to community health efforts and identifying additional tools and resources to meet the needs of different communities.  


The Good Health Counts report describes:

  • A new framework for community health.
  • The interdisciplinary nature of community health and the diverse sectors that should be engaged in the process of promoting health.
  • A synthesis of nearly 100 community report cards and indicator reports that describes the community level process of evaluating factors that affect health.
  • Tools for identifying the factors in your community that promote or detract from health.

Goals of the project include:

  • Expand the traditional understanding of health and increase interest in the impact of community factors.
  • Outreach to both traditional health partners as well as non-traditional partners to understand their role in promoting community health.
  • Assess the needs of different sectors to inform the refinement of the community health framework and potential tools and resources. 

California has a history of innovative and forward-thinking solutions. In order to lead the way with good health, community solutions to addressing the diverse determinants of health must be part of the answer.


The report, Good Health Counts: A 21st Century Approach to Health and Community for California, is available free of charge at: http://www.preventioninstitute.org/hdpubs.html. For more information, please contact Program Coordinator Linnea Ashley, MPH, at Linnea@preventioninstitute.org or (510) 444-7738.

 

Meet the Union of Concerned Scientists

Sunday, Oct. 26, 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., Room 28E, San Diego Convention Center. The Union of Concerned Scientists is a nonprofit partnership of scientists and citizens combining rigorous scientific analysis, innovative policy development, and effective citizen advocacy to achieve practical environmental solutions. Please join us for drinks and appetizers, and meet staff working on global warming, clean energy, clean vehicles, sustainable food production, and other critical policy issues. We want to hear your views and learn how we might join forces to more effectively address the public health aspects of these problems. RSVP to kwarner@ucsusa.org.

Fundraising Event for the National Disease Cluster Alliance

Paul B. English, PhD, MPH, Branch Science Advisor, California Department of Public Health/Environmental Health Investigations Branch & NDCA Board Member

Please join us at we kick off our new campaign.  This important event entitled “NO DISEASE CLUSTERS ANYMORE” will feature Dr. Joycelyn Elders as the keynote speaker, and will held during the Annual APHA meeting at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 29 at the resdience of Mr. Scott Burdman, National Disease Cluster Alliance Board Chair, 13910 Rancho Solana Trail San Diego, California 92130.  Individual Tickets - $85.

About the National Disease Cluster Alliance (NDCA)  it is the only non-profit focused on disease clusters and that connects communities, academia and government, enabling communities to more quickly identify and respond to disease clusters. NDCA has been a participant with the California State Health Tracking Program and the Centers for Disease Control National Health Tracking Program, since their inception in 2003. NDCA has been an active participant in nearly a dozen disease cluster investigations including in Victor, New York; Fallon, Nevada, and Sacramento’s Calvine-Florin community.

For more Information, visit www.clusteralliance.org.  If you have questions, contact Rebecca Morley at (703) 868-0554 or rmorley@nchh.org


President's Cancer Panel Meeting Series: September 2008 - January 2009

Ellie Goldberg, MEd, www.healthy-kids.info

The President's Cancer Panel, a three-person federal advisory committee appointed by the president, will be holding its 2008/2009 series of meetings beginning in September. The meeting series, entitled "Environmental Factors in Cancer" will focus on: industrial and manufacturing exposures; agricultural exposures; indoor/outdoor air pollution and water contamination; and nuclear fallout, electromagnetic fields, and radiation exposure. Below please find a list of the meeting dates and locations: Sept. 16, 2008 - Industrial and Manufacturing Exposures - East Brunswick, N.J.; Oct. 21, 2008 - Agricultural Exposures - Indianapolis, Ind.; Dec. 4, 2008 - Indoor/Outdoor Air Pollution and Water Contamination - Charleston, S.C.; January 27, 2009 - Nuclear Fallout, Electromagnetic Fields, and Radiation Exposure - Phoenix, Ariz.

http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/newsbriefs/Aug08/PC.pdf_

General Overview

  • Role of the environment in cancer.
  • Review of the general lines of evidence that establish the idea that environmental exposures are important in cancer etiology.
  • Role of "avoidable" or "preventable" factors will be addressed, along with the magnitude of the role of environment.

Questions for Exploration

  • What governmental regulations/policies are in place to protect workers from exposure to carcinogenic or potentially carcinogenic materials?
  • How effective are the current U.S. regulatory system policies on pollutants and are the research resources devoted to these issues adequate?
  • What specific occupational industries and populations are disproportionately affected by work-related cancers?
  • How do agricultural chemicals affect the water sources and crops ultimately consumed by people, and what are the links between cancer and soil, water, and food contamination?
  • What are the health effects on the U.S. population from air pollutants produced by countries (e.g. China) with few or no environmental regulations?
  • What are the health risks associated with increased exposure to ionizing radiation used for medical diagnosis and treatment?

 

FREE NIH Summit in December, 2008: The Science of Eliminating Health Disparities

Join the NIH institutes, centers, offices and their many partners engaged in research on minority health and health disparities on Dec. 16-18, 2008 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Md.

At this Summit, participants will:

  • Highlight the research progress of the NIH on health issues among racial/ethnic minority and medically under-served populations. 
  • Increase awareness and understanding of disparities in health. 
  • Showcase best-practice models in research, capacity-building, outreach, and integrated strategies to eliminate health disparities. 
  • Identify strengths and gaps in health disparities research. 
  • Network and dialogue with the nation’s leading experts on minority health and health disparities.

REGISTER NOW ONLINE for this FREE Summit: www.ncmhd.nih.gov

Sponsored by: National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD)