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Section Newsletter
Spring 2008

Message from the Chair

We are almost halfway through 2008, and our Environment Section is on track toward offering an excellent program at the October APHA Annual Meeting. Kudos to Barbara Glenn, Kacee Deener and Bill Daniell who dedicated many hours (and communications) toward orchestrating the upcoming, compelling Environment Section Program – check further down in the newsletter for more information.


At our April Environment Section Mid-year Meetings, we learned about the incredible success of the 2008 National Public Health Week  - due to the good folks at APHA Headquarters and to our own John Balbus, Jonathan Patz and all others who participate on the Section’s Climate Change Committee.  And the work is just starting to heat up (OK, it is both a bad pun & true...)!


The Healthy Food Systems Committee (Roni Neff, Jill Litt & David Wallingwa) is working diligently with the Food and Nutrition Section and will educate us more about the intricacies of healthy food & related topics, including but are not limited to: local food, transportation, obesity & active living, use of pesticides & hormones.


Sacoby Wilson & Liam O’Fallon are working toward gaining grant funding to boost student and community participation in Section activities by funding their attendance at the Annual Meeting.  As Sacoby mentions in a recent e-mail, “This will also be a good opportunity for student members or young professionals to get grant-writing experience.”  He asks for three to five member volunteers to join him in the grant writing process.  The first step is for one or two volunteers to draft that letter (letter for proposal/LRP) and submit it to NIEHS (c/o Liam O'Fallon) by July 1.  If interested, check this ink:

Thanks also to Peter Ashley and others who are participating on the Built Environment Committee and to Pat Bohan & Sarah Kotchian for their Workforce Development work via the Environmental Public Health Performance Standards - check out more at: 


Elections are soon.  You will find candidates for the Section Council and the Governing Council.  Looking to the next year, you may want to explore serving on one of these and ask, what are the responsibilities of each Council?  The Section Council members participate in Section activities such as weighing in on current issues, advising action steps re: emerging topics and leading Section committees.  Governing Councilors review policy/position papers, listen to Section member opinions & carry forward our Section’s views when voting on the APHA positions & policies during Governing Council meetings.  During these meetings, representatives of Sections, SPIGs and Forums and Affiliates (state public health organizations) vote on the policies for which the Association will advocate with national and state policy-makers. Also, next year, those members interested in serving as chair-elect and secretary will have opportunities to run for those open offices.


You are the critical glue for the Section, to repeat a past message. As is evidenced by all the good work done to date, each member’s contribution goes a long way to support and maintain our Section’s presence and strength in the APHA family.  So – thanks to those who contribute via serving as officers, volunteering as committee chairs & members, submitting abstracts & draft policy position papers, gaining funds for students to attend and in all other ways, too.  Each one counts.


To close, I ask that you please contact me to share your views, suggestions for improvements and other comments regarding the work of the Section and our participation in APHA.



Rebecca Head


Call for Environmental & Occupational Justice Papers

Liam R. O'Fallon

Program Analyst
Division of Extramural Research and Training

Following is a call for papers from the American Journal of Public Health. They will be publishing a special online issue of the journal dedicated to Environmental Justice and Occupational Justice. This is a national call.


The purpose of the special issue is to demonstrate the advancement of environmental justice and occupational justice since the early 1990s, and how projects in these areas have contributed to the fields of environmental health and occupational health. Hopefully, this special issue can serve as a means to clearly show the state of environmental justice and occupational justice.


Manuscripts must be received by AJPH at by August 1, 2008 for a desired publication date in April 2009.


In some cases, AJPH may be able to match a staff writer with a researcher/CBO to write an article for inclusion in this special issue.


This special issue is supported by NIOSH, EPA, NIEHS and U. Mass. Lowell.


Please contact me directly if you have questions about this message: Liam R. O'Fallon

(919) 541-7733

Update on Climate Change Committee

John Balbus, MD, MPH

Chief Health Scientist, Program Director

Health Program, Environmental Defense


After a highly successful National Public Health Week with the theme “Climate Change: Our Health in the Balance,” APHA and the Section’s Climate Change Committee have engaged in a series of activities aimed at improving public health preparedness and increasing awareness of health impacts during the growing debate on climate change policies.


In the middle of public health week, APHA president Georges Benjamin testified at a hearing before Representative Markey’s House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming on the health impacts of climate change.  He was joined in that hearing by Committee member Dr. Jonathan Patz.  The following week, Committee members Drs. Patz, Kristie Ebi and John Balbus testified before Senator Kennedy’s Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee on public health preparedness for climate change.


The hearings have been followed up by APHA efforts to introduce legislative language that would further the goals of reducing the public health threat from climate change.  Working with Representative Markey’s office, language for this year’s Appropriations bill would provide $11.1 million to the CDC for capacity building on climate change.  Senator Kennedy’s staff has drafted, with help from APHA, an amendment to the Lieberman-Warner climate bill that would provide a funding stream for research and public health preparedness. 


Environment Section members are encouraged to support both of these legislative efforts.


A report released by Environmental Defense Fund, the National Association of County and City Health Officials and George Mason University in April highlighted the gaps in public health preparedness for climate change and laid out a set of recommendations for addressing climate change health impacts.  The report, entitled “Are We Ready?  Preparing for the public health challenges of climate change” can be downloaded at


APHA signed on to comments prepared by a consortium led by John Balbus on incorporating health effects of climate change into the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the new fuel economy standards (CAFÉ) for cars and light trucks.  This is the first time the federal government has explicitly announced an intention to consider health effects of climate change in setting energy or transportation policy.  Section members can participate in reviewing the actual EIS when it comes out later this summer.


The groundswell of activity and interest in health effects of climate change is growing.  Efforts are under way to create a more organized coalition of groups working in this area, with APHA front and center in that effort.  Stay tuned.

Update from Food & Environment Working Group

Roni Neff, PhD, MS

Research Director

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Center for a Livable Future:


For four years, the APHA Environment and Food and Nutrition Sections have collaborated around public health issues at the intersection of food, agriculture and environment.  Relevant public health issues, as described in the Association's new (2007) position paper "Towards a Healthy, Sustainable Food System,"

arise from many intertwined factors including the industrialization of agriculture, its intensive use of water, antibiotics, chemical inputs, fossil fuels and other resources, and the power of agribusiness firms.  The results include significant contributions to climate change, environmental pollution, water and soil depletion, low regulation of worker safety and health, and the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections.  This industrialized food system also has nutritional implications, such as its contribution to obesity and to the lack of access to healthy foods. Public health professionals are increasingly at the forefront of challenging these threats, and also of promoting healthier, more just and more sustainable alternatives. Food and environment issues continue to gain visibility and traction with increased public interest in local and sustainably produced foods, the obesity epidemic, the recent passage of the Farm Bill, and the international crisis of rising food prices.


Bridging sections, the Food and Environment Working Group has sought to encourage interdisciplinary scientific and social interchange, to help expand perspectives and ultimately work towards broader public health community engagement in food/environment issues.  Four years ago, the group began trying to bring people together through the APHA scientific program; we have continued to highlight sessions of joint interest.  Two years ago at APHA in Boston, at least 70 people attended a social event featuring locally sourced food and wines.  At last year's conference in D.C., more than 100 came out to Clyde's of Gallery Place to mix, mingle, eat, drink and share ideas.  The event coincided with APHA's August 2007 W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant to support organizing in selected communities around public health and agricultural policy issues.


Planning is well under way for the 2008 social event, to be held on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at 6:30.  We hope you will be sure to include Tuesday in your San Diego itinerary, and join us to sample the area’s freshest and local-est.  Beyond that, look out for information about our track of scientific sessions addressing food and environment themes, and for information about a 'meetup' for visiting the nearby farmer's market.  Our group is also seeking to raise money to bring individuals engaged in the San Diego food system to the conference, and to support other activities to build the profile of food and environment. Long term, many of us are already looking to "Farm Bill 2013" and to developing activities aimed at building a stronger and more influential public health voice in debates about food and farm policy.


Stay tuned for information about participating in San Diego activities. If you may be interested in joining our active working group, please e-mail Roni Neff


2008 Environment Section Program

Barbara Glenn, Kacee Deener & Bill Daniell

Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008


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



Environment Section Meeting for Members I


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



Environment Section Meeting for Members II

Monday, Oct. 27, 2008

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



Environment Section Meeting for Members III


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



Indoor Air Exposures and Risk Reduction


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



Environment Section Student Achievement Award Poster Session



Environment Section Poster Session II



Environment Section Poster Session III


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


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



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


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



Environment Section Calver Award Luncheon


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



Understanding and Assessing Hazardous Exposures



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


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



Beyond Food Miles: Reducing Our Carbon Foodprint



Environmental Health Concerns in Border Communities



Health Impact Assessment: Lessons Learned


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



Environment Section Social Hour


Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008


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



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



Tracking Hazards and Health for Government Decisions



Industrial Agriculture: Health Threats and Solutions


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



Communicating the Public Health Aspect of Climate Change



Environmental Contaminants and Health Effects



Green and Healthy Housing


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



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



Built Environment Standards and Law



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



Lead Exposure in Children: Vulnerable Populations


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



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



Health Impact Assessment: State and National Policies




Weather, Heat and Health


Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008


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



Environment Section Poster Session IV



Environment Section Poster Session V



Environment Section Poster Session VI


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



Environmental Justice and Health Disparities in Brownfields Communities



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


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



Obesity and Links to the Built Environment



Environmental Health in Childcare Settings and Schools


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



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



Climate Change and Environmental Health



Local Environmental Health Initiatives


Update on the APHA Education Board

Charles/Chuck Treser, MPH

Senior Lecturer, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences

University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine


Environment Section Representative to the Education Board


The Education Board is charged with maintaining and enhancing professional knowledge, increasing technical proficiencies, and enabling members to promote and protect environmental and community health. In 2005, the board formed three sub-committees on which to concentrate activities. These were Continuing Education, Technology and Public Health Work Force. After the 2007 Education Board meeting a fourth committee was formed: Public Health Education. At the 2008 Education Board meeting the subcommittee members looked at the Education Board’s strategic plan, which expired in 2006, and decided to extend it to 2010. They then mapped out work plans for each of the subcommittees.


The Continuing Education Subcommittee has Joan Reede as the lead and Kaye Bender as the co-lead with Drew Harris, Jack Lanier and Michael Dickey as members. This group already met in person on March 10, 2008 to review proposed APHA Learning Institutes and approved 11 sessions on Saturday and eight sessions on Sunday. They also have used feedback from the needs assessment to revise the next needs assessment and the APHA Learning Institute proposal form. Annette Ferebee and Beth Benedict worked on the annual ANCC Provider Unit report, and will attend the ANCC annual symposium in July in Minneapolis.


The Public Health Work Force Subcommittee has John Neuberger as the lead and J. Henry Montes as the co-lead and Lynn Woodhouse as a member. Their focus is to provide leadership for APHA activities related to credentialing of the public health work force and increase understanding and support by public health practitioners of the role and importance of practitioners having academic preparation at accredited programs/schools.


The Technology Subcommittee has Chuck Treser as the lead and Amos Deinard as the co-lead and Gillian Barclay as a member. Their focus is to envision/develop innovative or reconfigured continuing education programs for APHA at annual or regional meetings through distance technologies. They are working on a trial Webcast and will then evaluate the results of that attempt.


Public Health Education is a new subcommittee with Gerald Ohta as the lead, Michael Gemmell as the co-lead, and Delois Dilworth-Berry and Lynette Golding as members. Their focus will be to develop and disseminate practical resources for APHA members and the general public that highlight the importance of public health (e.g., References to APHA strategic map: A1: Strengthen advocacy of APHA components and affiliates; B1: Communicate public health issues and science to key audiences; B3: Promote competency of public health work force; D1: Expand APHA resource base). They plan to use the Education Board Liaison assignments to APHA entities to gain information from the members on Educational needs.


Sessions sponsored by the Education Board for the upcoming APHA Annual Meeting in San Diego include the following:

·         Credentialing of the Public Health Work Force

·         Recruitment and Retention of the Public Health Work Force

·         How to write a successful Learning Institute Course

·         Undergraduate Public Health Education

·         Health Equity Initiatives

·         Peace Corps Master's International Program


Exciting Times for Environmental Public Health & APHA

Tracy Kolian, Policy Analyst

Amanda Raziano, Policy Analyst



Greetings, Environment Section members, from APHA’s Environmental Public Health Policy staff! This is the first of our (hopefully) many columns to come in your newsletter.


Now is an exciting and challenging time for environmental public health here at APHA and across the country. Environmental public health issues — climate change, built environment, preparedness, work force needs — are moving to the top of many of our agendas, and APHA is taking action to meet and address these challenging issues. Spring was a particularly busy time — here a few highlights.


Thanks to the many of you who assisted in making this year’s National Public Health Week theme, Climate Change: Our Health in the Balance, a success! Special thanks goes out to Environment Section members John Balbus and Jonathan Patz and Medical Care Section Chair-elect Mona Sarfaty, all of whom served as advisors to this year’s activities.


If you have not already, please read the June/July issue of The Nation’s Health newspaper for a review of NPHW activities, which are only the beginning of APHA’s continued climate change commitment. Also, access APHA’s recently released blueprint to learn more about public health’s role in tackling this global problem. As part of this year’s NPHW kick-off, the blueprint was unveiled at the Association of Healthcare Journalists’ annual meeting, where former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher stated: Global warming could be one of the top challenges facing the public health community today.”


In March, APHA, in collaboration with CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and the National Hispanic Environmental Council, hosted a workshop on climate change and communities of color. The workshop brought together experts and leaders in the field to develop recommendations for a research agenda to assess the vulnerabilities and needs of these communities. CDC is expected to release final outcomes from this and other climate change workshops in early 2009.


In conjunction with the World Federation of Public Health Associations and U.S. Group on Earth Observations, APHA also co-sponsored a forum — Changing Climate, Changing Health Patterns: What will it take to predict and protect? — on June 18 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. 


For the launch of CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network and Web site this fall, APHA recently brought together national and community partners to discuss the network’s capabilities, challenges and future needs. APHA will continue to partner with CDC to promote awareness of the Tracking Program and Network and push for increased capacity and resources.


As a first step in that process and in an effort to develop clear and compelling messages about environmental public health and its workers, we’ve conducted interviews with environmental public leaders about our nations’ chemical safety programs and CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. This information will be used to develop educational materials about ATSDR.


On the horizon are activities around asthma control, healthy homes, environmental public health performance standards and the built environment.


And with increasing attention to environmental public health issues and an increase in our internal capacity, now is a pivotal time for us. We are in the process of defining our purpose, our role at APHA as well as our position among other national organizations that work on environmental public health issues and our role in working with you. We will be in touch with you and your fellow Section members and leaders for continuing input, guidance and expertise.


Hope you all have a great summer! We look forward to seeing you in the fall in San Diego for APHA’s Annual Meeting. And one more thing: Check out environmental public health’s much more prominent presence on APHA’s Web site:



Update from the National Library of Medicine/NLM

Colette Hochstein, DMD, MLS (,

NLM, Division of Specialized Information Services


The Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS, at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) creates information resources and services in toxicology, environmental health, chemistry and HIV/AIDS. Another component of SIS, the Office of Outreach and Special Populations, seeks to improve access to quality and accurate health information by under-served and special populations. Many SIS products help to address the toxicology and environmental health information needs of the general public.


Dietary Supplements Labels Database:

The National Library of Medicine has released a new resource focused on dietary supplements. The Dietary Supplements Labels Database includes information from the labels of more than 2,000 brands of dietary supplements in the marketplace, including vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and other specialty supplements.


The database is designed to help both the general public and health care providers find information about ingredients in brand-name products, including name, form, active and inactive ingredients, amount of active ingredient/unit, manufacturer/distributor information, suggested dose, label claims, warnings, percentage of daily value, and further label information. 


Links to other NLM resources, such as MedlinePlus and PubMed, are provided for additional health information. In addition, links to related Fact Sheets from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the National Cancer Institute are also available.


Drug Information Portal Released

The Drug Information Portal ( is a new resource from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) that provides an informative, user–friendly portal to current drug information for more than 15,000 drugs. Links to sources span the breadth of NLM, National Institutes of Health and other government agencies. Current information regarding consumer health, clinical trials, AIDS–related drug information, MeSH® pharmacological actions, PubMed® biomedical literature, and physical properties and structure is easily retrieved by searching on a drug name. A varied selection of focused topics in medicine and drug–related information is also available from displayed subject headings.


The basic name–search/retrieval architecture is provided by NLM’s Chemical Identification/Dictionary, ChemIDplus®. The Drug Portal contains more than 194,000 unique searchable drug names and their synonyms. Successful searching is further enhanced by a spellchecker that offers suggestions for misspelled drug names.


Pharmacological actions (PA) indicate how a drug behaves in the body by describing intended chemical actions and uses that result in prevention, treatment, cure or diagnosis of a condition or disease. Drugs usually have multiple actions and uses. From the results page, the listed categories of MeSH® pharmacological actions can be selected and then searched to identify other drugs associated with this category or classification. When a specific category is selected, the corresponding pharmacologic action and description can be displayed from a listing of MeSH® PA categories.


TOXMAP: New Health Data, Roads

TOXMAP now includes the 2006 Toxics Release Inventory data (TRI) (, as well as health risk information links. EPA Environmental Health news and updated cancer and other mortality data have also been added.


TOXMAP now shows more detailed roads at a variety of map scales. Roads and other reference data can be hidden from maps via the “Other Data” subtab.

Other recent changes include:


TOXMAP ( is a Geographic Information System from the Division of Specialized Information Services ( of the U.S. National Library of Medicine ( that uses maps of the United States to help users visually explore data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxics Release Inventory and Superfund Program.


NLM Disaster Information Management Research Center

The National Library of Medicine has released a Web resource about its new Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC).


The DIMRC Web site seeks to provide access to quality disaster health information at all stages of preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery.  Initially, the site will focus on NLM and NLM-supported resources and activities.  It will then expand to include other sources of authoritative disaster health information.


NLM has a long history of providing health information during times of disaster. Recognizing the potential of libraries as untapped resources in preparing for disasters, and responding to the current increased need for disaster health information, DIMRC was created to aid the nation's disaster management efforts.


DIMRC is tasked with the collection, organization and dissemination of health information for natural, accidental or deliberate disasters.  The Center is committed to providing this information as part of the federal effort to help prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate the adverse health effects of disasters. It will work with federal, state, and local government, private organizations and local communities.


DIMRC will focus its efforts on providing disaster health information resources and informatics research that will be directly beneficial for public health officials, health care providers, special populations, and the public.


Special Populations: Emergency and Disaster Preparedness

A new Web page that addresses emergency and disaster preparedness and special populations has been added to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Enviro-Health Links.


"Special Populations: Emergency and Disaster Preparedness" provides links to selected Web sites featuring emergency preparedness for special populations. This includes people with disabilities, people with visual or hearing impairments, senior citizens, children, and women. Links to information in languages other than English are also provided.


NLM also offers other Enviro-Health Links on topics such as:


Biological Warfare:

Chemical Warfare:

Children's Environmental Health:

Indoor Air Pollution:


Outdoor Air Pollution:

Pesticide Exposure:


NLM Enviro-Health Links


Radiation Event Medical Management

Radiation Event Medical Management (REMM) ( is a Department of Health and Human Services Web site that seeks to assist health care professionals, primarily physicians, who may have to provide medical care during a radiation mass casualty incident. REMM provides easy to follow algorithms for diagnosis and management of radiation contamination and exposure, guidance for the use of radiation countermeasures, and a variety of other features to facilitate medical responses.


Continuing education credits (CME, CNE, CEU and CHES) sponsored by CDC are now available to REMM users ( CE credits will be available until Jan. 15, 2009.


Mobile REMM for PDAs (Blackberry, Palm, Pocket PC) is now completed. Users can sign up to be a beta tester (e-mail:


The REMM Web site will soon add more detailed information on the clinical phases of Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) as well as a new section on the cutaneous subsyndrome of ARS (with many clinical photographs), and more detailed information on the hematologic subsyndrome of ARS (


A set of full color wall posters displaying the major REMM clinical algorithms is now available at no charge. Send your name and address to (must be U.S. address; one set per requester).


WISER 3.0 Is Now Available for Windows Mobile Smartphone

WISER 3.0 for Windows Mobile Smartphone can now be downloaded at


WISER plans to provide further capabilities in future releases, including additional substance category support (with more categories), additional tools/reference materials for radiologicals and chemicals, and biological mode (biological substance list and related tools and reference materials).


Carcinogenic Potency Database - Now Accessible via TOXNET

CPDB, the Carcinogenic Potency Database, ( was developed by the Carcinogenic Potency Project at the University of California, Berkeley, and by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It reports analyses of animal cancer tests on 1,547 chemicals. Results for each chemical are now searchable via the National Library of Medicine Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET®).


CPDB includes 6,540 chronic, long-term animal cancer tests (both positive and negative for carcinogenicity) from the general published literature as well as from the National Cancer Institute and the National Toxicology Program. Such tests are used in support of cancer risk assessments for humans.  Information that is important in the interpretation of bioassays is reported in CPDB for each experiment.


Users can search for results on each chemical in TOXNET via chemical name or name fragment, or by Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (RN). Results include a summary for each sex-species tested, including carcinogenicity, target organs, and carcinogenic potency values. Detailed results from each experiment on the particular chemical are given in a plot format suitable for screen viewing. Chemical structure, InChI (, and SMILES codes ( are reported.


CPDB is also available in several formats that combine results for all chemicals, including summary tables and formats that can be read into statistical databases. Links to these are available via TOXNET, on the CPDB support page "Overview" (

Moving Children’s Environmental Health Protection into State Agencies

Claire L. Barnett, Executive Director Healthy Schools Network, Inc.

Coordinator, Coalition for Healthier Schools 


A newly enacted federal law supported by APHA and many national partners authorizes U.S. EPA, advised by CDC, to create federal guidelines and a new voluntary grant program for state agencies to advance healthy indoor environments, currently addressed by some 14 different offices and programs inside EPA. The law also authorizes EPA to produce new guidance on how states should work with federally designated and supported pediatric environmental health units.


The High Performance Green Buildings Act, signed by Bush into the Energy Act of 2007, sets forth an innovative feature recognizing children’s need for health protections. Built on special reports presented at APHA, U.S. EPA will create model guidelines for how state agencies can work with the 10 U.S.-based federally designated Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units to conduct onsite school and child care center environmental investigations. Just as challenging, the new law sets up a new federal Office of Green Buildings in the General Services Administration, and further directs EPA to set first-ever guidelines for the siting of schools, taking into account APHA Environment Section issues such as transportation modes, children’s vulnerability to toxics, and the use of schools as community emergency shelters. 


APHA Environment Section member organizations whose work informed and/or supported the new law include: Alliance for Healthy Housing, Children’s Environmental Health Network, American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Healthy Schools Network, Center for Health Environment and Justice, Institute for Children’s Environmental Health, and green building and built environment advocates. 


Detailed information about HPGB, including its text, is available here:


Keeping Rachel Carson's Legacy Alive in 2008

Ellie Goldberg, MEd,


Last year, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Rachel Carson's birthday, May 27, 2007, communities, schools and organizations all over the world held commemorative events and created expanded Web sites dedicated to promoting Carson's legacy and her most controversial book, Silent Spring, that was a call to action for ecological awareness and responsibility.


Silent Spring is as relevant today as when it was published in 1962.  Carson exposed the extensive harm caused by the reckless use of modern chemicals and eloquently explained the intimate connection between our health and the quality of our environment. To a public dazzled by chemical industry marketing and government complicity, Silent Spring detailed the assault on the essential elements that sustain life: clean air, clean water and safe food. Chapter 14, "One in Four," explains the link between the environment and cancer.


Although Carson died of cancer on April 14, 1964, less than two years after the publication of Silent Spring, she still inspires citizens and policy-makers to make sustainability and public health a priority, especially to reduce pollution (such as pesticides) that contribute to asthma, cancer and other environmentally related illnesses. 


Speaking at a 1962 graduation ceremony, Carson said, "Your generation must come to terms with the environment. Your generation must face realities instead of taking refuge in ignorance and evasion of truth. Yours is a grave and a sobering responsibility, but it is also a shining opportunity. You go out into a world where mankind is challenged, as it has never been challenged before, to prove its maturity and its mastery -- not of nature, but of itself. Therein lies our hope and our destiny. In today already walks tomorrow."  (Scripps College Commencement, June 12, 1962).


Films, Links, Lesson Plans

This year, the play A Sense of Wonder, based on Carson's life and her writings by acclaimed actress Kaiulani Lee, has been filmed!  The film's Web site, includes information and a trailer of the film . 


Bill Moyers Journal (Sept. 21, 2007) features the life and legacy of Rachel Carson and the start of the modern environmental movement. The show includes an interview with Kaiulani Lee and excerpts from the play, A Sense of Wonder. Go online to Watch the Video: and read the Transcript:

Teachers can find Lesson Plans: (activities for science, English, and civics classrooms, grades 6-12.)


Find "Rachel Carson 2008 events and "Legacy Resoucres" at the the Rachel Carson Homestead Web site at  Find links to more videos, Web sites and resources about Rachel Carson online at the Rachel Carson Institute at, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at, The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson at, and What Would Rachel Say? at


Massachusetts Know Your Milk Campaign

Ellie Goldberg, MEd,


April 2008

An open letter from Judy Norsigian (Our Bodies Ourselves); Deborah Shields (Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition): Rita Arditti and Margo Golden (Women's Community Cancer Project); Amy Agigian, (Center for Women's Health and Human Rights at Suffolk University); and Ellie Goldberg (Healthy Kids: The Key to Basics)


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As health and food safety advocates, we are concerned about the use of rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) in dairy products in Massachusetts.


Inspired by the Physicians for Social Responsibility's successful "KNOW YOUR MILK" campaign to stop the use of rBGH by major milk suppliers in Oregon, the goals of the Massachusetts "KNOW YOUR MILK" campaign are to educate the public about the connection of rBGH to breast cancer and other cancers in humans, to urge producers to label dairy products, and to advocate that schools, hospitals and other institutions eliminate rBGH from the dairy products they serve.


Background: In 1993, Monsanto, the chemical company, introduced rBGH, a genetically modified hormone that is injected into cows to increase milk production by 5-15 percent.


The Problems: rBGH causes elevated levels of a powerful insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in milk, which may increase the risk of breast, prostate, colon, lung and other cancers. rBGH also increases udder infections in cows so dairy products from rGBH-treated cows contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans.


According to a survey funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 95 percent of Americans said milk from cows injected with rBGH should be labeled and 74 percent said they had concerns about the long-term health effects of milk produced using rBGH. However, millions of people in the United States are unknowingly consuming rBGH dairy products. After pressure from Monsanto, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that dairy products from rBGH treated cows do not require a label.


Increasingly, consumers around the country are saying "no" to rBGH products.

- As of Jan. 1, 2008, Starbuck's milk is rBGH free.

- Kroger (a giant supermarket chain in the Midwest), Publix (a Florida supermarket chain), Wal-Mart and others do not use milk from rBGH-treated cows in their store brand products.

- Health Care Without Harm's Healthy Food in Hospitals project is working with hospitals around the country to eliminate rBGH dairy products from their facilities.

To join the Massachusetts "KNOW YOUR MILK" campaign, send an e-mail to


Thank you to Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility Campaign for the name "KNOW YOUR MILK" and to Rick North, campaign director, for inspiration and support.


To learn more about rBGH, see these resources:

Women's Community Cancer Project Newsletter. Summer 2006. "Ten Years After: rBGH and Cancer" by Rita Arditti. On the Web, at, courtesy of Our Bodies Ourselves and the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition. Also available is a short WCCP Fact Sheet on rBGH and cancer.


Campaign for Safe Food

Health Care Without Harm

Center for Food Safety

Food and Water Watch

Organic Consumers

County of Sacramento Selected as 2008 Crumbine Award Winner

Beth Phillips

Director, Member Services & Administration

Foodservice Packing Institute


The County of Sacramento Environmental Management Department has been selected as the recipient of the 2008 Samuel J. Crumbine Consumer Protection Award for Excellence in Food Protection.


For 53 years, the Crumbine Award, named for one of the United States' most renowned public health sanitarians, has been presented to a local public health unit by a jury of leading environmental health officials and public health sanitarians and is the most prestigious recognition that a public health unit can receive. Crumbine winners serve as models for other public health and safety programs across the nation.


“The County of Sacramento has demonstrated leadership, innovation and a commitment to food safety that transcends the boundaries of their county," said  2008 Crumbine Award Jury Chair Gary Erbeck of the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health (the 2005 Crumbine Award winner). "It is a guiding light for local food safety programs throughout the nation.”


County of Sacramento Environmental Management Department Director Val Siebal said collaboration with industry stakeholders and having a multi-pronged approach were key factors in developing their Retail Food Program.


“We are extremely proud to receive this award as it demonstrates our ongoing commitment to consumer information and protection in Sacramento County,” Siebal said.


Sacramento received the Crumbine Award at the Annual Educational Conference of the National Environmental Health Association, June 22-25 in Tucson. Award presentations will also be made at the annual meetings of the International Association for Food Protection, August 3-6 in Columbus, Ohio, and National Association of County and City Health Officials, Sept. 9-12 in Sacramento.


The Crumbine Award is supported by the Conference for Food Protection, in cooperation with the American Academy of Sanitarians, APHA, Association of Food & Drug Officials, Foodservice Packaging Institute, International Association for Food Protection, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Environmental Health Association, National Restaurant Association Solutions, National Sanitation Foundation International and Underwriters Laboratories Inc.


For more information about the Crumbine Award, please contact Beth Phillips, the Foodservice Packaging Institute Director of Member Services and Administration, (703) 538-2800. A copy of Sacramento’s award-winning application may be found on the FPI Web site at

Update on the APHA Action Board

Leon Vinci, DHA

Health Director, Johnson County (Kan.)

& Action Board Member


The Action Board is the vocal arm of the APHA, regarding important and late-breaking Congressional issues.  Members follow legislation and arrange, with APHA staff assistance, to send timely “alerts” to all APHA members, registered through the Association’s Alert system.  The Action Requests serve to inform members about the latest issues and to provide each with the opportunity to notify U.S. senators and representatives regarding pertinent public health concerns.  These advocacy efforts are critical to getting Congress to consider our issues


Some of the important topics addressed to date by Congress have included issues related to: immigration, mental health parity, DHHS budget, climate change and children’s environmental health. 


Please be on the alert for new notices and future updates that request member action.

2008 APHA Annual Meeting – Special (FREE) Seminar

Leon Vinci, DHA

Health Director, Johnson County (Kan.)


Environment Section members are invited to attend a free breakfast seminar during the upcoming APHA Annual Meeting in San Diego.  Co-sponsored by the Veterinary Public Health SPIG and Epidemiology and Environment Sections, the seminar will be held Wednesday morning.  Please come early because seating is limited.


Attendees will learn about environmental health model programs focused on dealing with community issues related to feral cats and rabies prevention.

New Book on Environmental Policy Issues

Rebecca Head, PhD, DABT

Health Officer/Director

Monroe County (Mich.) Health Department


Interested in how environmental law, policy and economics fits into the broader topic of sustainable development?  Check out new book of the same name, "Environmental Law, Policy and Economics," by Nicholas A. Ashford, MIT Professor of Technology and director of the Technology and Law Program and coauthor Charles C. Caldart at: