Environment
Section Newsletter
Fall 2009

Register for the Annual Meeting

APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition

Register for the meeting and make your hotel reservation soon (advance registration closes Oct. 2, housing closes Oct. 9). Note: Presenters must be individual members of APHA to present their paper(s) and must register in advance for the meeting. Session organizers and moderators are also required to be members and pay the appropriate registration fee. Hope to see you in Philadelphia!

Environment Section Annual Meeting Program

2009 APHA Environment Section Program

Water and Public Health:  The 21st Century Challenge

Pennsylvania Convention Center

Philadelphia

 Program Chairs:  Kacee Deener, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Yolanda Sanchez, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Please join the Environment Section at the 2009 APHA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.  This year’s theme, “Water and Public Health: The 21st Century Challenge,” provides a wonderful opportunity for the Environment Section to highlight the latest in environmental public health research and programs through 34 oral scientific sessions and six poster sessions. Additionally, the Environment Section has cosponsored and endorsed numerous scientific sessions that were organized by other APHA Sections.  You can access the full program – including cosponsored and endorsed sessions – online at http://apha.confex.com/apha/137am/webprogram/ENV.html.

A list of sessions organized by the Environment Section is provided below. All activities organized by the Environment Section will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Specific room locations will be announced at a later date.

Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009

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

201.0 Environment Section Meeting for Members I

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

217.0 Environment Section Meeting for Members II

Monday, Nov. 9, 2009

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

301.0 Environment Section Meeting for Members III

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

3027.0 Drinking Water: Source-to-Tap Public Health Aspects

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

3086.0 Environment Section Student Achievement Award Poster Session  

3085.0 Environmental Health Poster Session I: Exposure among Vulnerable Populations

3084.0 Environmental Health Poster Session II: General Topics in Environmental Health

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

3117.0 VOC-Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp LeJeune: Historical Reconstruction of Contaminant Levels and Epi Studies

3118.0 Strategies to Improve Residential Indoor Environmental Quality in New and Existing Housing

3119.0 MRSA and Antibiotic Use in Animal Agriculture: An Emerging Health Threat Down on the Farm – JOINTLY SPONSORED BY ENVIRONMENT AND FOOD/NUTRITION

3108.0 Careers in Public Health: Occupational Health and Safety, Environment, Genomics and Injury Control and Emergency Health Services 

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

3216.0 Environment Section Calver Award Lecture – Dr. Howard Frumpkin

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

3315.0 Current Issues in Children’s Environmental Health

3316.0 Oceans and Human Health: Communicating Public Health Concerns to Communities at Risk

3317.0 Detection, Surveillance and Monitoring: Tools to Understand Water and Health

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

3409.0 Lead in Drinking Water: Children’s Health and Policy

3410.0 Assessing the Impact of the Built Environment on Health Outcomes

3411.0 Partnerships for Environmental Public Health:  Promoting Research to Action

3412.0 Re-establishing the Primacy of Primary Prevention in the Control of Waterborne and Zoonotic Disease:  Selected Examples

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

335.0 Environment Section Awards and Social Event

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009

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

4020.0 Climate Change and Public Health

4021.0 The School Environment and Children’s Health

4022.0 Water and Health: An Environmental Justice Perspective

4022.1 Emerging Environmental Health Challenges: Pharmaceuticals in Water

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

4189.0 Collaborative Efforts in Addressing Issues Regarding Pharmaceuticals in Water

4190.0 Climate Change, Water and Public Health

4191.0 Benefits and Risks from the Sea: Balancing Nutritional Benefits with Toxicological Risks: Where are we now and where do we need to go?

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

4275.0 Using Community Owned and Managed Research (COMR) and Collaborative Problem-solving Approaches to Address Environmental Justice

4276.0 Your Oceans and Your Health: Public Health Surveillance, Prediction, Prevention and Preparedness

4277.0 Water, Health and Communities

4278.0 Politics, Policy and Public Health

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

4361.0 Public, Private and Bottled: Public Health and Drinking Water

4362.0 Ecosystems and Human Health

4363.0 Decision-making and Politics in Community Water Supply

4366.0 Getting from Here to There: Planning and Building Healthier, More Sustainable Food and Water Systems – JOINTLY ORGANIZED BY FOOD/NUTRITION AND ENVIRONMENT

Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009

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

5004.0 Environmental Health Poster Session III: Health and Water

5005.0 Environmental Health Poster Session IV: Food and the Environment

5006.0 Environmental Health Poster Session V: Emerging Environmental Challenges

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

5039.0 The Importance of Clean Water and Sanitation to Health:  An International Perspective

5040.0 General Topics in Environmental Justice

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

5100.0 Waterborne Diseases: Seasonality and Environmental Associations

5101.0 Infectious Disease and Water

5102.0 The Health of the Chesapeake Bay: Microcosm of Global Watershed Stresses

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

5150.0 Air Quality and Environmental Health

5151.0 Emerging Contaminants and Environmental Health

5152.0 Improving Capacity and Preparing for Accreditation using the National Environmental Public Health Performance Standards

 

Annual Meeting Food and Environment Activities

Toward a Healthy, Sustainable Food System: Activities at the APHA Annual Meeting and Beyond

Submitted by Rebecca Klein, MS

 

The APHA Food and Environment Working Group has been hard at work planning events for the Annual Meeting. Stay tuned for information about how to register for the following events:

 

Saturday, Nov. 7: Day tour of Philadelphia Food System Projects Including: a farmer’s market, a healthy corner store, youth gardening and education programs, an urban farm, and an overview of from the Mayor’s office on the city’s plans for sustainability.

 

Tuesday, Nov. 10: A delicious and delightful social and networking event featuring locally and sustainably sourced foods on Tuesday evening 6:30-8:00. The event will be walking distance from the convention Center.

 

The Food and Environment Working Group (FEWG) is comprised of nearly 100 members from several sections, primarily Environment and Food and Nutrition. We are working together to protect public health by promoting and cultivating a safe, healthy, just and sustainable food system. The FEWG includes many of the nation’s public health leaders in child nutrition, child obesity, sustainability and health and food systems.

 

Food System Sessions

Keep your eyes out for our guide to scientific sessions relevant to the food system. It will be posted on the Environment Section website in October.

 

A Special Session submitted by FEWG members, “Public Health in an Era of Resource Depletion,” is scheduled for Monday. 

 

Water Bottles

In keeping with the theme of Water and Public Health, attendees are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles and plan on using water fountains and tap water at the Annual Meeting.  The APHA PubMart (Booth 1425) will also have metal water bottles for sale. By reducing the use of disposable water bottles at the Annual Meeting, attendees can help reduce the environmental impact [carbon footprint] of the meeting and highlight the importance of maintaining and supporting safe drinkable water in all communities.

 

There are numerous public health and justice issues associated with bottled water, especially plastic bottles. The Food and Environment Working Group will have more information about these issues at the Food and Nutrition and the Environment Section Booths. Stop by to learn more!

 

NOTICE: If you own a SIGG bottle, please see this recall notice and have yours replaced. http://www.mysigg.com/bulletin/exchange_program.html

 

If you are interested in becoming involved in the Food and Environment Working Group, please contact Rebecca Klein, rklein@jhsph.edu, (410) 502-7578.

Annual Meeting Career Guidance Opportunities

APHA Career Guidance Center

Don't miss this opportunity! Sign up now for a one-on-one or a group session with a professional career coach at APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition. These coaches can guide you in strategizing the next phase of your career and help you define your goals. Select a 45-minute individual session or a 90-minute group session. The group sessions are designed according to your career needs. To see which session best fits for you, please read about each coach's experience and education before setting an appointment. If you have never experienced coaching before, this is a wonderful introduction to what may become a useful service for your career!

This is the link to the the Career Guidance Center:

https://secure.commpartners.com/apha/careers/mentorlist.php?event=7

StoryCorps at Annual Meeting

Story Corps Comes to APHA!

Have you ever wondered how your esteemed colleagues came to be environmental public health professionals? When you consider the many unique roles we each play, do you wonder how to begin explaining what it is that environmental public health professionals do? Can you point out stories that highlight how your career choices have enhanced your personal and professional life? 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re in good company. Many of your peers have accomplished extraordinary gains for the field of environmental public health. Yet many struggle with telling their stories in ways that engage new talent, educate the public and really connect with decisionmakers. This year, APHA’s environmental public health staff is working with StoryCorps, an independent, non-profit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening. StoryCorps will be onsite at APHA’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in November to capture stories from our environmental public health community.

Over the next couple of months, APHA staff will be reaching out to many of you in environmental public health to participate in this effort. StoryCorps will help conduct “conversations” between two individuals – a primary interviewee and an interviewer. This is a great opportunity to sit down with a close colleague, mentor, student or friend and share your life experiences.

We are very excited to gather all your wonderful stories through such an esteemed program as StoryCorps. We are beginning to outline opportunities to use your stories to showcase all the great people and work that occurs within our field. We also look forward to working with the Environment Section members in the coming months.

To learn more about StoryCorps and listen to other stories, please visit the StoryCorps We bsite. StoryCorps staff will also provide a one-hour presentation on Sunday evening, Nov. 8 for those interested in learning more. Amanda Raziano is the APHA staff lead and contact for this project.

Announcing the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

Submitted by Brenda Afzal, RN, MS

We are in a new dawn regarding environmental health in the United States and, in fact, globally. The public awareness and interest in all things “green” is creating a demand for nurses to understand the relationship between human health and the environments in which we live, learn, work and play. We have moved beyond questioning the science of whether we are in environmental health peril to almost unanimous consensus that we must act and act now on many of the risks we are all experiencing. Nurses, who are one of the most trusted sources of information by the public, must be in a position to both respond to questions about the environment and its relationship to health with credible, evidence-based information, as well as provide leadership in making the necessary changes in our policies and practices. To that end we must prepare nurses to be a cut above the average citizen with regard to their knowledge of environmental health issues.

In December 2008, 50 nursing leaders were selected to represent the nursing profession at a four-day, invitational meeting to develop a strategic plan for environmental health nursing. They represented the following: nursing sub-specialty organizations ranging from nurse midwives, school nurses, and nurse practitioners, to critical care, neonatal, and public health nurses: state nursing associations; as well as the national organizations of Black and Hispanic Nurses Associations. While there were many small accomplishments at this meeting, the two that stand out are the following:

  • A national organization was born – the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments.
  • An organizational structure was constructed and four main Work Groups were created to begin the important work of this new Alliance:
    • Education.
    • Practice.
    • Research.
    • Policy/Advocacy.

This new Alliance is now growing as nurses from around the country join the work groups to participate in meaningful national efforts. For example, the Education Work Group is developing curriculum materials for nursing schools and for continuing education. They are also planning a free, online nursing text on environmental health.

The Practice Work Group is sharing resources for nurses who are “greening” their hospitals and other health care facilities, as well as developing best practices and model policies to decrease unnecessary environmental exposures in our workplaces. They are also exploring standard practices that recognize environmental exposures as a determinant of health.

The Research Work Group is creating a compendium of nursing research articles on environmental health to better identify evidence-based practices. They are also promoting more nurses researchers in this area and sharing information about funding sources.

The Policy/Advocacy Work Group is addressing environmental health policies at the state and national level and helping to mobilize the nursing community to support policies that encourage citizen knowledge about potential hazards through “right to know mechanisms” and reduce/eliminate known and suspected hazardous chemicals that are in our air, water, food, soil and products.

A new and fabulous Web site has been created that is helping to support the many Alliance efforts, as well as contain information and resources that all nurses will appreciate. It is called “e-Commons”, a name that reflects both the new electronic nature of the tool and the old, English term that referred to land that was owned by no one person but rather was co-owned by the entire community. This land was known as the commons.  The new Web site, http://e-Commons.org is just that – a new Web site that we all (all nurses who are concerned about the environment and its relationship to human health) co-own and co-create.

To learn more about the Wingspread Statement, 2009, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments' plan to strengthen the environmental health and nursing movement, please visit http://e-commons.org/anhe/2009/07/01/1909/.

Summary of 2009 State Legislative Sessions

Environmental Health in the 2009 State Legislative Sessions

Doug Farquhar, JD
National Conference of State Legislatures

The 2009 state legislative sessions were dominated by diminishing revenues and budget cuts.  Unlike recessions in the past, no state was immune from this downturn.  State legislatures had to grapple with a $142 billion shortfall, which is anticipated to worsen in 2010.

Regardless of the budget, environmental health continued to move forward with 158 bills being enacted in 41 states.  In every state some bill related to environmental health was introduced, totally 1,333 bills in the 50 states (District of Columbia and the Territories were not included in this research.)  No single issue dominated the environmental health agenda in 2009, but some states were more active than others.  New York saw 251 bills introduced, but as of August, none had passed.  Indiana only introduced 24 bills related to environmental health, but passed seven of them.  Montana introduced 17 bills, enacting six of them.

Below reviews several key laws related to environmental health.  As of August, only nine legislatures remained in regulator session, meaning a majority had adjourned for the year.  Several states allow bills introduced in one session to carry over to the next, but that does not mean the bill will move any further during the 2010 session than it did in the 2009 session.

Indoor Air Quality

Continuing with the trend set during the 2008 legislative session, several states sought to prohibit tobacco smoking in public places.  Thirty states introduced legislation banning smoking in public areas.  However, as of August 2009, only Maine, North Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Virginia enacted smoking bans during the 2009 legislative session.  Maine forbids smoking in certain areas of state parks and historic sites (2009 Me. Laws, Chap. 65).  Additionally, Maine HB 556 (Sess. 2009) (2009 Me. Laws, Chap. 140) bans smoking in outdoor eating areas of eating establishments.  Maine also enacted legislation governing workplace smoking (2009 Me. Laws, Chap. 300). In South Dakota, smoking is prohibited in public places and places of employment (2009 S.D. Sess. Laws, Chap. 171).  Smoking is also banned in Vermont places of employment (2009 Vt. Acts, Act 32).  North Carolina prohibits smoking in state government buildings and vehicles (2009 N.C. Sess. Laws, Chap.  2009-27). Smoking is also disallowed in North Carolina restaurants and bars with certain exceptions (2009 N.C. Sess. Laws, Chap. 2009-27). Additionally, Virginia bans smoking in restaurants, unless the building is constructed so smoking areas are structurally separated from non-smoking areas and have separate ventilation systems.

Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi unsuccessfully attempted to enact legislation banning smoking in public areas such as restaurants, bars, casinos, government buildings, schools and places of employment.

Nebraska, however, enacted legislation that exempts cigar bars from the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act.  Similarly, Illinois seeks to pass legislation exempting smoking from the Smoke Free Illinois Act for smoking that is conducted for scientific research or is associated with an American Indian religious ceremony or ritual (IL S 215; IL S 1685).  Hawaii enacted an exception to its Smoke-Free Hawaii Law that permits smoking by employees or volunteers of correctional facilities (2009 Ha. Act 99).

Seven states enacted legislation concerning installation of smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors.  Colorado requires any newly constructed or existing single or multifamily dwelling offered for sale, which contains a fuel-burning heater or appliance, a fireplace or an attached garage, to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed within a specified distance of each room used for sleeping. (2009 Colo. Sess. Laws, Chap. 51). Similarly, Maine requires that all single-family dwellings and multi-apartment buildings, newly constructed single-family dwellings and rental units must have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in close proximity to a bedroom (2009 Me. Laws, Chap. 162). New Hampshire also mandates installation of carbon monoxide detectors in single and multifamily dwellings constructed or substantially rehabilitated after a certain date (2009 NH Laws, Chap. 46). In Montana, sellers of residential property must provide notice regarding the presence of a carbon monoxide detector.  Montana also requires that landlords have carbon monoxide detectors installed in rental dwellings (2009 Mont. Laws, Chap. 43).  Washington now requires the seller of a single-family residence to equip the dwelling with carbon monoxide alarms before the buyer may legally occupy the residence (2009 Wash. Laws, Chap. 313). Utah prohibits counties, municipalities, and local health departments from enforcing regulations requiring the installation or maintenance of carbon monoxide detectors against anyone other than the occupant of a residential dwelling.

Lead Hazards

A recently promulgated federal rule requires contractors who perform renovations, repair work or painting in housing built before 1978 be trained and certified in lead-safe work practices.  States can seek authorization to administer and enforce the provisions of this rule.  Mississippi amended its lead-based paint activity law to conform with these federal requirements, as did Iowa, North Carolina, Oregon and Virginia.

A major area of new legislation concerns the desire of states to curb the disposal in landfills of electronic products such as televisions and computer monitors, which often contain lead and other toxic substances.  Although seven states introduced legislation in 2009 to establish programs for the recycling of discarded electronic devices, only Indiana and Utah enacted bills addressing this issue.  Under Indiana’s law, television and computer monitor manufactures must recycle 60 percent of the total weight of these video devices sold to households during the preceding year (2009 Ind. Acts, P.L. 178).  Utah’s law encourages state residents to reduce electronic waste and reuse or recycle electronic items.  The law also urges the Utah Department of Environmental Quality to continue working with the Recycling Coalition of Utah’s Electronic Scrap Steering Committee and other interested stakeholders to assess electronic waste issues in the state.

Another area of concern for states involves the use of lead wheel weights in motor vehicles.  Six states sought to prohibit or restrict the sale and use of lead wheel weights.  However, Washington and Maine are the only states that enacted legislation in 2009 to protect the public from hazards associated with using lead wheel weights.  The Washington law stipulates that lead wheel weights must be replaced with environmentally preferred weights during replacement or balancing (2009 Wash. Laws, Chap. 243).  Maine now prohibits the sale of wheel weights containing lead (2009 Me. Laws, Chap. 125).

Minnesota and New Jersey introduced legislation to address the lead exposure dangers of synthetic turf.  Minnesota’s bill limits use of synthetic turf on certain athletic fields and permits schools to use health and safety revenue to study the public health impacts of using synthetic turf.  New Jersey introduced similar legislation, which establishes a moratorium on the installation of synthetic turf pending a comprehensive public health study.

Mercury

The majority of mercury legislation introduced during the 2008-2009 legislative sessions focused on mercury exposure from vaccinations/immunizations and fluorescent lights.  In eight states, legislatures sought to establish procedures governing the sale, use, and recycling of lighting containing mercury.  The same number of bills was introduced to regulate vaccinations and immunizations.

States also introduced legislation aimed at preventing mercury exposure from thermometers/thermostats and dental fillings.  Montana established the Mercury-added Thermostat Collection Act, which prohibits the sale and installation of mercury thermostats and requires manufacturers to establish a program for collection and recycling of such thermostats (2009 Mont. Laws, Chap. 296).  New York introduced a bill that would prevent the sale of mercury fever thermometers without a prescription from a health care practitioner or veterinarian. New Jersey is considering legislation directing the Department of Health and Senior Services to investigate mercury use in dental filings and study the health and occupational effects of using dental fillings containing mercury.  Washington introduced legislation requiring dental insurance plans to provide alternatives to mercury amalgam dental fillings.

Pesticides

States introduced legislation restricting pesticide use around schools and day care facilities.  Connecticut enacted legislation allowing only certified pesticide operators to apply pesticides within a day care center (2009 Conn. Acts, P.A. 56).  New Jersey and New York have bills pending that would prohibit use of certain pesticides at schools and day care centers.

Nevada enacted legislation that authorizes a district health officer to order a property owner to abate or exterminate mosquitoes or other pests infesting the owner’s property (2009 Nev. Stats., Chap. 334). Massachusetts has five bills pending relating to mosquito control.  In particular, Massachusetts House Bill 704 mandates that the state’s Mosquito Borne Disease Control Board regulate at disease vector mosquito and related nuisance organisms management activities in the state.  The Commonwealth also has pending legislation that would require the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in coordination with the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board, to meet with environmental organizations to discuss mosquito control, management of mosquito-borne diseases, and aerial spraying.

Biomonitoring, Environmental Justice, Health Impact Assessments

New York introduced the largest number of bills on biomonitoring during the 2008-2009 legislative sessions.  The majority of New York’s 12 pending bills concern the tracking of various types of cancers such as bladder, breast and lung.  In addition, New York is seeking to develop an environmental health tracking system for the purpose of tracking and evaluating chronic diseases, including cancer, in relation to environmental exposure. New York’s remaining bills seek to develop policies and procedures for tracking pesticide poisonings, toxic chemicals, and environmental justice issues in the state.

Along with New York, four additional states introduced legislation to monitor environmental justice concerns.  Massachusetts has legislation pending that would establish an index to track environmental health issues among various communities and require certain projects to complete a health impact assessment to protect the health of community residents.  Legislators in Minnesota sought to establish the Environmental Justice Act, which would create a task force to identify and make recommendations to state agency heads regarding actions to be taken to address environmental justice issues. Maryland failed to enact legislation designed to develop criteria and maps that identify environmentally stressed communities in the state.  Likewise, New Mexico was unable to pass a bill that would direct the New Mexico Department of Health to compile data and develop regional health profiles for specific vulnerable geographic regions of the state.

Another area of importance for state legislatures relates to exposure to depleted uranium.  Hawaii, Missouri, and Oregon introduced legislation to address the health effects of depleted uranium exposure on military veterans.  These bills would have provided assistance to help military veterans obtain screening tests and treatment services.  Additionally, Hawaii and Oregon sought to establish a task force to study the health implications of depleted uranium exposure.

Maryland and Minnesota enacted legislation relating to environmental health monitoring and testing.  Minnesota’s bill requires the establishment of a network of water monitoring sites in public waters adjacent to wastewater treatment facilities to assess levels of endocrine disrupting compounds, antibiotic compounds, and pharmaceuticals. Maryland allows a county or the Department of the Environment to recover from responsible persons the reasonable costs incurred in conducting environmental health monitoring or testing to assess the public health and environmental effects resulting from the person’s release of a hazardous substance or pollutant in state waters.

Asbestos

Several states sought to enact legislation concerning asbestos and silica liability claims.  However, of the 15 states that introduced legislation in this area, only Indiana, North Dakota and Oklahoma passed bills imposing limitations on claims for damages from exposure to asbestos or silica.  The three states now limit liability arising from asbestos or silica-related claims for innocent successor corporations (2009 Ind. Acts, P.L. 134; 2009 N.D. Sess. Laws, Chap. 32; 2009 Okla. Sess. Laws, Chap. 228).  Similar legislation is pending in Michigan, New York and Washington to limit a successor corporation's liability for asbestos or silica exposure claims.

Radon Exposure

States addressing radon sought to establish radon inspection and detection procedures and minimize radon exposure in public buildings and residential dwellings.  Connecticut developed procedures for evaluating radon in indoor air and reducing elevated radon gas levels when detected in public schools (2009 Conn. Acts, P.A. 220).   Maine requires a landlord of a residential building to periodically test for radon and notify the residents if an unhealthy level of radon is detected.  Moreover, the landlord must mitigate the radon gas until it is reduced to a level not hazardous to human health (2009 Me. Laws, 278). Iowa HB 684 directs the Iowa Propane Education and Research Council to spend a certain percentage of its assessment on radon inspection and detection systems installation.

States also introduced legislation concerning the licensing and certification of radon inspectors.  In Utah, radon mitigation system installation on a building project with a value of less than $3,000 must be done by a licensed electrical or plumbing contractor.   Similar legislation was introduced by Illinois that prohibits an individual from selling a radon detection device without prior approval from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.  Virginia passed legislation establishing the state Department of Health as the state radiation control agency and requiring the state to maintain a list of individuals licensed or registered to conduct screening, testing or mitigation for radon (2009 Va. Acts, Chap. 466).

Illinois, Iowa and New York introduced bills requiring notification of the presence or dangers of radon gas during transfers of real estate.  In Iowa, legislators introduced legislation requiring sellers of single-family or two-family dwellings to provide information to buyers describing and explaining the dangers of radon and the benefits of testing for it.  Illinois has a bill pending before the governor to require sellers of residential property to disclose that they have no knowledge of elevated radon concentrations or that prior elevated radon concentrations have been mitigated or remediated.  A similar bill is pending in New York requiring residential home sellers to disclose the results of radon tests conducted within six months for all houses offered for sale, exchange or lease.

Children’s Environmental Health

During the 2009 legislative sessions, states sought to protect children from exposure to pesticides and other toxic substances.  States also introduced legislation prohibiting the manufacturing of children’s products containing bisphenol-A.  Bills were introduced to improve indoor air quality inside schools and day care facilities.  Legislators also looked to enact legislation addressing asthma issues in children.

Eighteen states introduced legislation concerning the manufacturing of products containing bisphenol-A, with Connecticut adopting HB 6572 (2009 Conn. Acts, P.A. 9-103) and Minnesota adopting SB 247 (2009 Minn. Laws, Chap. 40), both banning bisphenol-A in children’s products. Pennsylvania adopted HR 94 urging Congress and the Food and Drug Administration to encourage industry to reduce the use of bisphenol-A in the manufacture of plastic food containers and bottles.  In California, legislators are seeking to enact the Toxin Free Infants and Toddlers Act, which would prohibit the manufacture or sale of any food or beverage container that contains bisphenol-A.  Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island have similar bills pending to protect children from bisphenol-A.

Indiana and North Carolina passed legislation to ensure safe air quality within schools.  Indiana HB 1097 mandates that the State Board of Education adopt standards concerning indoor air quality for construction, alteration, and repair of school buildings (2009 Ind. Acts, P.L. 168).  North Carolina allows public schools seeking voluntary child care facility licensure to use an existing or newly constructed classroom, provided it has floors, walls, and ceilings that are mold and mildew free (2009 N.C. Sess. Laws, Chap. 123).  Indiana also enacted legislation which requires the State Department of Health to adopt rules regarding indoor air quality in schools and state agencies.  Under the legislation, the Indiana Department of Health must report on conditions that are or could contribute to poor air quality such as carbon dioxide, humidity, mold or excess dust (2009 Ind. Acts, P.L. 132).

In 18 states, 53 bills were introduced to address children’s asthma issues.  The majority of the bills provide for the possession and self-administration of handheld inhaler devices by students who have been prescribed that medication for breathing disorders.  Arizona (2009 Ariz. Sess. Laws, Chap. 6), Connecticut (2009 Conn. Acts, P.A. 155), and Louisiana (La. Acts 2009-145) enacted legislation allowing students to carry and self-administer asthma inhalers. Maine passed a similar bill permitting self-administration of asthma inhalers by children in youth camps (2009 Me. Acts, Chap. 211).

Eleven states introduced bills providing for the use of environmentally preferable cleaning and maintenance products inside schools, with Connecticut (2009 Conn. Acts, P.A. 81), Hawaii (2009 Hawaii Sess. Laws, Act 13), Maryland (2009 Md. Laws, Chap. 454), and Nevada (2009 Nev. Stats., Chap. 244) enacting legislation requiring schools to utilize these products.  California has legislation pending to establish the Clean and Healthy Schools Act, which requires specified schools to purchase and use exclusively environmentally preferable cleaning and maintenance products.

States also introduced legislation requiring testing or prohibiting the sale of children's products or food items containing lead, mercury or cadmium.  Maryland’s bill clarifies which manufacturers and importers of children’s products are required to perform lead testing.  The bill also clarifies the type of children’s products requiring testing (2009 Md. Laws, Chap. 129). New York has legislation pending that would require the Department of Health to monitor lead levels in candy and to prohibit the sale or distribution of candy containing lead.  The bill also prohibits the manufacturing, distribution or sale of soft vinyl lunch boxes and infant and children's bibs containing more than 600 parts per million of lead.


This article was written with research done by Scott Hendrick, JD, and Jason Williams of NCSL.

Update on Healthy Schools Policies and Activities

CLEAN AIR IN SCHOOLS

Submitted by Claire Barnett

 

HEALTHY SCHOOLS FOR ALL!

The biggest-ever National Healthy Schools Day took place in April 2009, with 48 events and activities in 22 states, the District of Columbia, and — for the first time — Canada.  Teachers, students, parents, nonprofit organizations and government leaders joined forces to promote and celebrate healthy school environments. Events included training and information sessions, Webinars, press conferences, and award presentations. Governors David Paterson of New York and Bob Riley of Alabama issued proclamations putting both on the record in support of clean air  in schools. Congressman Paul Tonko of New York, former president of the state’s Energy Authority, delivered a rousing floor speech in the House, demanding an investment in healthy, green schools.  National Healthy Schools Day is a partnership project between US EPA-IAQ Tools for Schools Program, Healthy Schools Network, and the Council of Educational Facility Planners-International.  From modest roots as a simple online checklist in 2003, it has blossomed into a thriving national day of action and celebration. We thank its many supporters, including APHA and its members, and invite all to consider becoming a co-sponsor for April 2010. For more information, visit www.nationalhealthyschoolsday.org.

 

LANDMARK EPA COMMITMENTS WITH PROFOUND RAMIFICATIONS

Last spring, EPA announced a new project to monitor air toxins outside 62 schools in 22 states; since then two more schools have been added from two tribal nations.  A series of articles in USA Today last December indicated that hundreds of schools nationwide were potentially burdened by elevated levels of outdoor air toxics from nearby stationary and/or mobile sources.  APHA member Vernice Miller-Travis co-chairs EPA’s advisory work group on which Claire Barnett also serves.  For more information, visit www.epa.gov/schoolair

 

At the same time, to comply with a new federal law supported by APHA and hundreds of advocates nationwide (High Performance Green Buildings Act of 2007), EPA is also drafting new federal guidelines on school environmental health, including school siting, that it will advance with federal and state agencies. These are enormous commitments that will affect the environmental health and safety of tens of millions of children, especially those highest risk learners in impacted communities.

 

APHA members should be aware that EPA resources for its child health and schools-focused programs were slashed during the previous administration, and have not been restored.  

Collaborative on Health and the Environment Announcements

Collaborative on Health and the Environment
Upcoming CHE Partnership Calls and
CHE Special Announcements



Upcoming Working Group Calls

 

CHE Working Groups offer a variety of calls throughout the year to their members. If you are not a member of a particular working group, you are still invited to participate in a call, and we encourage you to consider becoming a member of the working group. For more information on how to participate in a working group contact: info@healthandenvironment.org

CHE Mental Health and Environment Working Group Call
Friday, Oct. 9, 2009 at 10 a.m. Pacific / 2 p.m. Eastern
Please contact Ed Seliger at NADD for dial in information at eseliger@thenadd.org.

 

 

Northwest Children's Environmental Health Forum

CHE-WA's Children's Environmental Health working group hosted a Northwest Children's Environmental Health Forum Oct. 1-2, 2009 at the Tukwila Community Center.

For more information visit the forum Web site.



APHA Press

APHA Book Publications


APHA Press has three books in production of interest to epidemiologists and other health professionals that will be available at the Annual Meeting: Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Control, 3rd edition, by Patrick Remington, Ross Brownson and Mark Wegner, and two books by Steven S. Coughlin, Ethics in Epidemiology and Public Health Practice, 2nd Edition, and Case Studies in Public Health Ethics, 2nd edition. 

Special Journal on Green Jobs

Special Journal Issue on Green Jobs

Submitted by Craig Slatin

 

In collaboration with the Blue Green Alliance, New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy presents this special issue with speeches and presentations from the second Good Jobs/Green Jobs National Conference held in Washington, D.C., Feb. 4-6, 2009, putting forward powerful ways to rebuild the U.S. economy with good, green jobs in sustainable energy generation, conservation, new transportation systems and other ways of greening industry.

To get full details and download a free PDF sample issue today, go to:
http://baywood.com/journals/PreviewJournals.asp?id=1048-2911.

Injury Prevention Webcast Available Online

The astho, naccho, and stipda Injury Prevention Webcast Series

“Preventing Injury & Chronic Disease

 through Smart Growth Policy"


 Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009

2:30 – 4:00 p.m. EST


ASTHO, NACCHO, and STIPDA offered the next installment in their Injury and Violence Prevention Webcast Series in a September Webcast that was the first in a two-part series that will focus on the relationship between injury and chronic disease prevention, Smart Growth, and community design. 

If you were unable to view the live Webcast, the presentations will be available on the ASTHO, NACCHO, and STIPDA Web sites: www.astho.org, www.naccho.org, and www.stipda.org.  



RWJ Scholars Program

 Call for Applications for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program: www.rwjf.org/cfp/healthandsocietyscholars

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program provides two years of support to postdoctoral scholars at all stages of their careers to build the nation's capacity for research and leadership to address the multiple determinants of population health and contribute to policy change.

Deadline for applications: Oct. 2, 2009
 

CDC Environmental Leadership Institute Opportunity

Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute Accepting Applications Through October 31, 2009

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute (EPHLI) is now accepting applications for the class of 2010–2011.

Each year, approximately 30 practicing environmental public health professionals are admitted to the program. EPHLI strengthens the country’s environmental public health system by enhancing the leadership capabilities of state, local and tribal environmental public health professionals.

Application instructions are posted at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/EPHLI/application.htm. The application deadline is Oct. 31, 2009. For more information about EPHLI, please contact John Sarisky at JSarisky@cdc.gov or Maggie Byrne at MByrne@cdc.gov.

NCEH October 2009 Conference

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Environmental Health 2009 Conference
Oct. 26-28, 2009
Atlanta


Visit www.team-psa.com/2009nephc for conference details.



AESS October 2009 Environment Conference

 

INAUGURAL CONFERENCE OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES & SCIENCES

"ENVIRONMENT: The Interdisciplinary Challenge"
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Oct. 8-11, 2009

 

For more information visit http://www.union.wisc.edu/aess/.

 

November 2009 California Food Systems Syposium

California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health
Symposium on Food Systems & Public Health S3: Safe, Secure & Sustainable
Nov. 4-6, 2009

For more information visit: http://www.californiafood.org/.