Section Newsletter
Winter 2009

Welcome to all continuing and new members of the environment section. It is, as has been said “the best of times, the worst of times.”  We all look forward to the new president and his administration, and hopefully, the reinvigoration of environmental protection and public health.  As members of the Environment Section, you can contribute to improving health and the environment, by participating in the work of the Section. And what is the work of the section? Our specific initiatives encompass:

  • The Built Environment,
  • Global Climate Change,
  • Environmental Justice and
  • Healthy Foods (including agricultural practices, local foods, and in many other related issues).

Do you want to know more about what we do? Please visit our webpage: http://www.apha.org/membergroups/sections/aphasections/env/


In addition to conducting exciting project work that that contributes to national and local health and environment issues, I section and its members work hard to maintain the strength of the environment section. Please consider joining a project team or in section activities such as the membership team, writing an article for the newsletter, or exploring running for office. Your participation can be any length of service or amount of effort and remains critical to the strength of the Section into our being able to continue our work.


And how do we work with APHA? We have contributed to the organization's initiatives on environmental justice, climate change and the two combined: climate justice. Healthy foods and all related aspects remains a priority of the APHA organization. Not only do we work with the organization, but we also work with other sections on these topics such as food and nutrition.


To emphasize public health, let’s celebrate National Public Health Week, April 6-12, with the emphasis on Building the Foundation for a Healthy America. To promote environmental protection and health - this year’s theme of the November 7-11 Annual APHA Meeting in Philadelphia is Water and Public Health: the 21st Century Challenge and is particularly meaningful to our Section.


So again, welcome to the Environment Section and 2009. Let's make this a meaningful year. 



Rebecca A. Head


Public Health Materials Contest

NINETEENTH Annual APHA Public Health Materials Contest


The APHA Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section is soliciting your best health education, promotion and communication materials for the 19th annual competition. The contest provides a forum to showcase public health materials during the APHA Annual Meeting and recognizes professionals for their hard work. All winners will be selected by panels of expert judges prior to the 137th APHA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. A session will be held at the Annual Meeting to recognize winners, during which one representative from the top materials selected in each category will give a presentation about their material. Entries will be accepted in three categories: printed materials, electronic materials, and other materials. Entries for the contest are due by March 27, 2009. Please contact Kira McGroarty at kmcgroar@jhsph.edu for additional contest entry information.


Web Conference on Health System Reform

The APHA Community Health Planning and Policy Development Section is coordinating a free Web conference on The Role of Community in Health System Reform on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Three speakers will present perspectives on a position paper the Section is working on. They will describe community health planning from the medical and from the public health/community perspectives, and opportunities for action. For more information, or to register, visit http://www.chppd.org.


Upcoming Events

Feb. 24-26: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2009 National Environmental Public Health Tracking Conference, Washington, D.C.

Tracking Program

This conference will serve as the platform for CDC to officially launch its National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network.

Important Dates

Onsite Registration Fee:  $275 (Feb. 24–26, 2009)

Anticipated Attendees

Any person or organization engaged in the National Tracking Program or interested in learning more about tracking. This may include local, regional and national decision makers, researchers, health care providers, policy-makers, and community members.

E-mail questions or comments to EPHT@cdc.gov .




June 21-24: National Environmental Health Association Annual Education Conference, Atlanta (http://www.neha.org/AEC/2009/index.html )



Sept. 15-16: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Prevention Research Centers-Healthy Aging Research Network "Promoting Environmental and Policy Change to Support Healthy Aging Symposium", Chapel Hill, N.C. (www.prc-han.org)


Symposium will address the challenges amenable to environmental and policy change; the evidence that supports specific approaches and their outcomes; and promising strategies for practice. Target audience: professionals in public health, aging services, business, planning, engineering, recreation, health care, architecture, and design and advocates for livable communities.



Nov. 1-5: International Society of Exposure Science annual meeting, Minneapolis (http://www.iseaweb.org and http://www.ises09.org/).



November 7-11: APHA Annual Meeting, Philadelphia (http://www.apha.org/meetings/pastfuture/)




School Safety

Inspiring Heroes: The Legacy of the 1937

Texas School Explosion

Ellie Goldberg, MEd, http://www.healthy-kids.info , (617) 965-9637


March 18, 2009 is the 72nd anniversary of the worst school disaster in U.S. history. The 1937 Texas School Disaster was a gas explosion that killed over 300 people, mostly children. Although a litany of problems were found in the construction of the new school, no one was held responsible because the Court of Inquiry concluded that "school officials were just average individuals, ignorant or indifferent to the need for precautionary measures, where they cannot, in their lack of knowledge, visualize a danger or a hazard." (Court of Inquiry, 1937.) The disaster led to the law requiring that a warning odor be added to natural gas, a result that saves millions of lives all over the world. However, other important recommendations to prioritize safety in school construction standards and operations have yet to be implemented in most 21st century schools. The story of the 1937 Texas School Explosion needs to be remembered because too many schools have dangerous old explosives in classrooms, labs, closets and storerooms. And, too many opportunities to prevent and correct other safety code violations in schools are routinely ignored.

What You Can Do

Observe March 18 as a Healthy Schools Heroes Day.
Let's move safety from the margins of school activity to the core of school culture and curriculum. Together we can inspire leadership for safety in schools and overcome indifference to a wide range of public health and safety problems.

Break the Silence

Tell the story. Most people have never heard of the 1937 Texas School Explosion. The 1937 Explosion survivors all take some measure of healing and consolation in knowing that their stories teach the importance of taking precautions to prevent a similar tragedy from shattering other school communities. Read the memories of the survivors, witnesses and family members of the victims at "Recollections" (
http://www.nlse.org/recollections.html) and "Sharing Information"

(http://www.nlse.org/sharing_01.html). See the old photos (www.nlse.org/photos.html) and newsreels (www.nlse.org/newsreels_01.html). The film trailer of the 2009 documentary based on survivors' stories, When Even Angels Wept, is online at http://www.kristinbeauchamp.com/44.html.

Tell your story

Encourage parents, students and staff to break the silence about school hazards and to dispel the myths that excuse inaction. Read stories of Healthy Schools Heroes online at http://www.healthy-kids.info. Identify and celebrate safety heroes in your community. Promote a sense of shared responsibility and accountability for student, employee and visitor health and safety in all school areas and activities. Put chemical safety on the agenda of your PTA, teacher's association, school council, school board, health department, and other community forums. Commit to building the school and community partnerships that put a priority on teaching safely and teaching safety, especially for chemical cleanouts and other precautions. Find resources for chemical management online at the US EPA Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign (SC3) http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/partnerships/sc3/index.htm .

More suggestions for linking school activities to the lessons of the 1937 School Explosion are online at http://www.healthy-kids.info for science, language arts, history, theater, environmental education, parent involvement, emergency preparedness and professional development. Take advantage of year-round opportunities to promote school and community safety. Build on campaigns such as Poison Prevention Week March 2009, Inhalant Hazards Awareness Week March 2009, National Public Health Week 2009 and National Healthy Schools Day, April 27, 2009, Child Health Month, and other public health events.

Lessons Learned

Help raise awareness of the urgent need for responsible leadership to eliminate explosives and other hazards in today's schools so "that schools will be safe and children will come home to their families when their lessons are over." (9-year-old survivor Carolyn Jones, in an appeal to the Texas legislature, March 25, 1937.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Ellie Goldberg, MEd


Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion




Nursing and the Environment

Nursing, Health, and the Environment

by Barbara Sattler, RN, DrPH, FAAN


In early December 2008, a group of nursing leaders representing a range of nursing organizations gathered in Oracle, Arizona to launch a new configuration of nurses who are interested in the relationship between the environment and human health and how it relates to their individual nursing practices and the nursing profession as a whole. On the heels of the newly established Environmental Health Principles for Nursing, this group developed a strategic plan for the integration of environmental health into nursing education (basic, advanced and continuing), nursing practice, research, and advocacy/policy work.   The end-of-meeting product was a strategic plan that will help to guide the work of a newly formed cadre of nurses who are committed to engaging the nursing profession in environmental health.


There was a collective recognition that many of the symptoms and diseases that we are seeing are related directly or indirectly to environmental exposures in our homes, workplaces, schools, and communities – increases in asthma, autism, neurological disorders, cancers.   The nurse researchers at the conference pointed out the importance of better understanding gene-environment interactions.  In addition to understanding the implications of these issues for clinical practice, the nurses agreed that they must be advocates for the clients and communities they serve and engage in local, state, and national environmental health policy development.


In an era when nurses are in short supply, it is critical that we maintain our own health, along with the health of our fellow employees, patients and the community.   As such, hospital-based nurses are contributing to the greening trends that are reducing exposures to potentially toxic yet common exposures in hospitals via healthier cleaners and disinfectants, safer methods of pest management, and eliminating and reducing the use of unhealthy plastics, in addition to reducing well-known risks posed by latex-containing products, chemotherapeutic agents, and radiation.   Several nursing leaders in attendance at the meeting discussed the tactics and successes they employed in shifting their hospitals to more sustainable, healthier and safer practices through environmentally preferable purchasing, selection of locally and sustainably grown foods, and effective waste management.    The basic waste-related tenets of  "reduce, reuse and recycle” have their own nursing spin as nurses have encouraged the use of reprocessed materials and products, discouraged extra packaging, and learned to recycle not only paper and plastic, but blue wrap (in the operating room), small batteries, and even kitchen waste (by having it composted).


The people in attendance represented nurses from a broad range of settings – hospitals, schools, health departments, academia – as well as a broad range of nursing and other organizations – state nurses associations, minority nursing associations, nursing subspecialty organizations, and the Nurses Workgroup of Health Care Without Harm (a national campaign dedicated to greening the health care sector).   There were nursing students, faculty, researchers, bedside nurses, midwives, and nurse practitioners; everyone agreed that all nurses needed to understand the relationship between the environment and human health and how this is important to their specific nursing role.    


When leaving the beautiful ranch setting in which the meeting was held, there was great enthusiasm for the work ahead and an ambitious new strategic plan to help guide their activities.   To learn more about the Unity Meeting, including access to presentations, videos and photos, see: www.e-Commons.org.  To register to post to the site please look on the column on the right hand side of the page and click on “register”. 

National Public Health Week

Toolkit for National Public Health Week 2009 Is Now Available

National Public Health Week is April 6-12, 2009.  This year's theme is
Building the Foundation for a Healthy America.

The Building the Foundation for a Healthy America toolkit and planning
materials are now available online. The toolkit includes fact sheets,
media outreach materials, suggested community events, legislative
information and resources for everyone to use throughout NPHW.

Each day focuses on a different aspect for Building the foundation for a
Healthy America...
Monday: Your Nation
Tuesday: Your Community
Wednesday: Your Workplace
Thursday: Your Schools
Friday: Your Home

Hospital Data Resource

Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project


The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) is a family of health care databases and related products developed through a federal-state-industry partnership and sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).  HCUP databases bring together the data collection efforts of state data organizations, hospital associations, private data organizations, and the federal government to create a national information resource of patient-level health care data. HCUP includes the largest collection of multi-year hospital care data in the United States, with all-payer, encounter-level information beginning in 1988. These databases enable research on a broad range of health policy issues, including cost and quality of health services, medical practice patterns, access to health care programs, and outcomes of treatments at the national, state, and local market levels.


One product HCUP produces are Statistical Briefs, which present simple, descriptive statistics on a variety of specific, focused topics using HCUP data. Statistical Briefs pertaining to environmental health issues include:











A complete listing of Statistical Briefs by topic are available on the HCUP-US Web site at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/sbtopic.jsp.

Honoring Rachel Carson

Plan "An Evening with Rachel Carson"


In March 2009, the National Women's History Project will honor women leaders who have 'taken the lead to save our planet' with a special focus on Rachel Carson for her vision and efforts to preserve the natural environment and stop ecological destruction. 

To kick off Women's History Month and to celebrate Rachel Carson's legacy, the producers of the new film A Sense of Wonder are looking for local and regional partners to host screenings in early March.

A Sense of Wonder
is the story of one woman's love for the natural world and her fight to defend it. It shows the extremely private Rachel Carson thrust into the role of controversial public figure after the publication of her book, Silent Spring.

Originally an award-winning play based on the words and writings of Rachel Carson, A Sense of Wonder has been touring the United States and the world for 16 years.  Written and performed by Kaiulani Lee, the play has been the centerpiece of regional and national conferences on conservation, education, journalism and the environment.  Now, starring Kaiulani Lee in her signature role, the film is beautifully shot in HD by Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler at Carson's cottage on the coast of Maine. (See the trailer online at http://www.asenseofwonderfilm.com/ ). 

The goal is to create a memorable event to celebrate the visionary scientist Rachel Carson and reflect on her powerful message.  Each screening event is imagined as a collaboration between local women's groups, local environmental organizations, the National Women's History Project, and Sense of Wonder Productions LLC.   Sense of Wonder Productions will work with local event organizers to reach out to local environmental organizations and appropriate panel experts.

A Sense of Wonder: An Evening with Rachel Carson Event:

- a screening of Kaiulani Lee's 55-minute film A Sense of Wonder.
- special appearance by actress Kaiulani Lee for Q and A (where possible).
- brief panel featuring/celebrating local environmental leaders reflecting on Carson's legacy.
- free refreshments.
- DVDs of newly-released deluxe edition of A Sense of Wonder for sale.

Interested?  To get started, contact Ian Cheney, Outreach Producer ( ian@asenseofwonderfilm.com ) with the following information: your name and contact information,  proposed location/venue of potential event, potential event partners.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I use the event as a fundraiser, or can I charge admission?

A community screening copy of the film, for free events in March, costs $84.95. For events used as fundraisers or charging admission, the screening license is $295 or 30 percent of the door, whichever is higher.

What will it cost to bring Kaiulani Lee to my event?

Because of the demands on Kaiulani's schedule, we ask for $1,500 plus travel/lodging as necessary.

Should our group seek out grants and sponsors for the event?

Absolutely! Carson's message has broad appeal, and there are tremendous opportunities to partner with other organizations to make this exciting event possible.

For more information about A Sense of Wonder, and to see a short trailer, visit www.asenseofwonderiflm.com.

To get started, contact Outreach Producer Ian Cheney at  ian@asenseofwonderfilm.com .

Environment Section Nominations

 APHA Environment Section Offices

Open for Nomination & Election at 2009 Annual Meeting




If interested in running for a position, please contact Jill Litt at Jill.Litt@UCHSC.edu .



1/Chair-Elect (2 year term)[1]

from the Environment Section Bylaws: 

a. Must have been a primary member of the Section for at least three consecutive years immediately prior to taking office.

b. Acts in behalf of the Chairperson in the Chairperson's absence.

c. Assists the Chairperson in providing leadership for Section activities.

d. Serves on the Section Council and Executive Committee.

e. Acts as Chairperson of the Section's Program Committee.

f. Must actively serve the best interests of the Section and abide by its bylaws, policies and positions.



1/Secretary-(2 year term)


The Secretary shall keep the minutes and other records of the Section, and shall transmit to the Executive Director of the Association a copy of the minutes of both the business and scientific sessions as soon as possible after the close of the Annual Meeting. It is also recommended that minutes be posted on the Section Web site. When unable to be present at the meeting, he/she shall thoroughly instruct the Secretary-elect, or a substitute in the event the Section has no Secretary-elect, as far in advance of the meeting as possible.



2/Section Councilors (3 year terms)


According to the APHA Bylaws, the duties of the Section Council shall include, but not necessarily be limited to the following:

  • “To make general recommendations in relation to the Annual Meeting program.
  • To act on Section membership and on Section policies.
  • To submit annually to the Governing Council through the Executive Board a report of the transactions of the Section.
  • To report annually to the Governing Council through the Executive Board on the plans, scope, and policy of the Section during the succeeding year.
  • To formulate rules of procedure for the Section.
  • To consider and transmit to the Governing Council resolutions originating in the Section. Only resolutions approved by the Governing Council shall be published as representing the policy of the Association.
  • To advise on the publication of papers and reports presented at the Section meetings.

To advise the Executive Board with respect to the organization and membership of the Action Board, the forthcoming Science Board, Councils, Task Forces, and Standing Committees.” (APHA Bylaws, Art. XIV, Sec. 9).



1/Governing Councilor (2 year term) http://www.apha.org/membergroups/sections/elections/GoverningCouncilorDescription.htm

Governing Councilors are expected to attend each session of the Governing Council at the Annual Meeting. They are expected to prepare for these sessions. Many have discussions with their Governing Councilors about the proposed policies, the major Association decisions coming before the Governing Council, and the election of Association Officers. Often a Section Council will ask that its Governing Councilors present important points about proposed policy statements, and to take to the Public Hearings the views of the Section Council. This latter activity may result in a Governing Councilor participating in proposed policy revisions during and immediately following the Public Hearings, which are held at the Annual Meeting.




Crumbine Award



FALLS CHURCH, VA – (January 30, 2009) The Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) would like to remind prospective applicants for the 2009 Samuel J. Crumbine Award for Excellence in Food Protection at the Local Level that the entry deadline is Friday, March 13, 2009. More details for applicants may be found on FPI’s Web site at www.fpi.org  (in the “Awards” section).


Named for one of America’s most renowned health officers and health educators – Samuel J. Crumbine, MD (1862-1954) – the award has elevated the importance of food protection programs within government departments and agencies and has inspired excellence in the planning and delivery of those services. Entries for the Crumbine Award competition are limited to U.S. and Canadian local environmental health jurisdictions (county, district, city, town or township) that provide food protection services to their communities under authority of a statute or ordinance. The U.S. Uniformed Services and U.S. Indian Health Service area programs are also invited to compete, if they are not monitored by a state, county or city health unit. Past winners may apply five years after receiving the award.


The guidelines are the basis for all Crumbine Award applications and must be followed in order to be considered for the award. The basic award criteria, by which achievement is measured, are:

·         Sustained improvements and excellence, as documented by specific outcomes and achievements, over the preceding four to six years, as evidenced by continual improvements in the basic components of a comprehensive program;

·         Innovative and effective use of program methods and problem solving to identify and reduce risk factors that are known to cause foodborne illness;

·         Demonstrated improvements in planning, managing and evaluating a comprehensive program; and

·         Targeted outreach; forming partnerships; and participating in forums that foster communication and information exchange among the regulators, industry and consumer representatives.


The winner of the award is selected by an independent panel of food protection practitioners who are qualified by education and experience to discern excellence in a program of food and beverage sanitation. They represent various interests, including leading public health and environmental health associations, past Crumbine Award winners, consumer advocates and the food industry. The jury makes its award selection each spring in a judging process administered by FPI. The application deadline for the award is March 13, 2009.


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, International Food Safety Council, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Environmental Health Association, NSF International and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.


For more information about the Crumbine Award, including the 2009 award guidelines, go to FPI’s Web site at www.fpi.org (in the “Awards” section); or contact Lynn Dyer at FPI by phone at (703) 538-2800 or by e-mail at ldyer@fpi.org .

Commentary on Poisoned Profits

Toxic Assault on Children's Health by Alice Shabecoff

Evidence that climate change was going to be a serious problem for the world was already strong when Philip, then the environmental correspondent for the New York Times, began writing about it in the 1970s.  The evidence was largely ignored by the public and policy-makers for nearly 30 years and future generations will pay the price for that neglect.


Then, as our grandchildren were born and grew, he and I became aware of another serious problem, one that is also largely ignored and also constitutes a threat to human welfare and, indeed, the long-term viability of life on earth – and that is the toxification of the environment by chemicals, heavy metals, and nuclear contamination.  The book we wrote to try to make this threat known is called Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on Our Children. 


Here are some numbers:  One of every two pregnancies in this country either fails to come to term or produces a less than healthy child. One of every three of America’s 73 million children now suffers from some form of chronic illness, from cancer to asthma, birth defects and a range of neurological illnesses, from ADHD and learning disabilities to autism and bipolar disorder.  Childhood cancer, once a medical rarity, has grown 67 percent since 1950.  Asthma has increased 140 percent in the last 20 years, and autism rates without a doubt have increased at least 200 percent.  Sperm quality has withered 50 percent since the ‘50s, the ratio of male births is decreasing at a rate of 1.7 per 1,000, while more and more boys are born with sexual deformities.  Babies are increasingly born before term and are smaller at term, foretelling a future of lesser intelligence joined with a greater likelihood of mental and behavioral problems.  


The sharp increase in chronic childhood illness has been paralleled by a rising flood in the number, quantity and variety of synthetic toxic substances.  Over 80,000 industrial chemicals are in commerce in this country, produced or imported at 15 trillion pounds a year.   Pesticide use has leapt 1,125 percent from the 400 million pounds used in Rachel Carson’s day to the 4.4 billion pounds in use today.   


From conception to adulthood, the assault is everywhere: heavy metals and carcinogenic particles in air pollution; industrial solvents, household detergents, prozac and radioactive wastes in drinking water; pesticides in flea collars; artificial growth hormones in beef, arsenic in chicken; synthetic hormones in bottles, teething rings and medical devices; formaldehyde in cribs and nail polish, and even rocket fuel in lettuce.  


Most synthetic chemicals have not been tested for their impact on human health, much less on the health of children. The law (the Toxic Substances Control Act) allows manufacturers to test their own products, with no requirement to prove safety for humans or the environment.  Even chemicals proved by independent research to be a menace are not removed if industry can make the case their economic loss outweighs the harm to public health. 


Poisoned Profits focuses on children for a couple of reasons.  We thought people were more likely to heed our message if it concerned their children.  The other reason is, that children are particularly vulnerable to toxics in the environment.  Their biological defenses are not yet developed.  Embryos and fetuses are particularly vulnerable; toxics cross the placenta and the blood-brain barrier.  It’s now known that toxics in the womb can reprogram one’s genes, evidencing themselves later in life in illnesses such as breast and prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  Recent research has further shown that such genetic changes can be inherited down through generations. 


Yet, even as one toxic product or another occasionally makes front page news, and even as parents struggle to fight illness one child at a time, the public and health care professionals still remain in the dark about the enormity of this national crisis. 


Why?  One reason may be that the current boxes of training and practice separate people who should be working together.  Environmental advocates don’t think ‘public health,’ public health practitioners don’t think ‘environment.’  Environmental groups battle coal-powered electric plants because of the global-warming carbon they emit, but seem to overlook the fact that the tons of lead, mercury, hydrochloric acid, chromium, arsenic and sulfur and nitrogen oxides these plants emit also cause autism, Alzheimer’s and other public health menaces.  


A more serious cause of ignorance, however, is that the evidence of toxic harm is purposely obscured by many of the polluting corporations along with their Washington lobbyists, scientists-for-hire, politicians, lawyers and public relations firms, using strategies they honed in defense of tobacco decades ago, and acting within an unfettered free market system very like the one enabling the shenanigans behind the 2008 financial meltdown. 


Family upon family, community after community, our interviews across the country revealed acts of corporate pollution papered over by researchers under corporate contracts.  The Swiss company Syngenta (formerly Novartis), the world’s largest agrochemical manufacturer, makes the herbicide atrazine. Atrazine is the most widely-used weed killer in the Corn Belt of America; it is found in over 90 percent of water samples in farming communities, and in at least 23 states. Its use was never allowed in Switzerland, and it was banned by the European Union in 2003. Syngenta interfered with the publication of a hired researcher’s study that had found exposure to atrazine during frogs’ fetal stage, even at levels 30 times lower than currently permitted in the nation’s water, converted male frogs’ hormones to female, that the frogs had in essence been chemically castrated.  (Frogs and humans have remarkably similar reproductive systems.)  New researchers were hired, who found no risk from atrazine at the EPA-allowed levels.  Despite the evidence that atrazine can turn male frogs into hermaphrodites, the EPA, after 50 private meetings with Syngenta and with two advisory committees composed of only Syngenta and EPA representatives, decided to keep it on the U.S. market with no new restrictions.


Money speaks at the legislative level as well.  In our analysis of who voted for or against the Clear Skies Act (which, contrary to its name, would have loosened corporate obligation to reduce air pollution), senators who voted for the act received three times the amount of donations from corporate interests as those who voted against it.


Yet, after acknowledging these problems, we end with hope and optimism. Now we know what is happening.  One countermeasure rests with the public health world.  Suppose public health leaders made the case that 90 percent of all synthetic industrial chemicals are made from petroleum, teaming up with green advocates fighting to reduce the use of the petrocarbons that cause global warming --that would incomparably strengthen and speed the development of substitute greener products.  It is our hope that the strength and knowledge that eliminated typhoid and malaria in this country will join forces with those who work for environment protection to eliminate the causes of toxic-induced disease.

Book Review of Poisoned Profits

Review of Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on our Children  Doug Farquhar, JD


"If we love our children, we should want to protect them, to give them a safe and healthy environment in which to be born and to grow up and in which to inhabit the future.  Whether we are strict parents or nurturing parents, whether we are conservative or liberal, whether we are rich or poor, whether we are blue-collar workers or corporate executives, whether we are devoutly religious or not, our values should reflects a deep-seeded, elemental-desire to shield our kids from harm."


So say Phillip and Alice Shabecoff in their new book "Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on Our Children" (Random House, NY 2008), an exhaustive review of how the extensive use of toxic chemicals in our environment have caused (or possibly caused) cancers, birth defects, cleft palates, deformities, autism, asthma and a host of other ailments in children. Looking at the plethora of chemicals in our environment, and the aggressive efforts the chemical industry has taken to ensure that these chemicals remain in commerce, the Shabecoff's explore the relationship between the chemical industry and government, citing the evolution of regulation from one of protection to one where government must rely on industry studies to justify federal safety standards.


Citing interviews with the leaders the environmental health community is familiar with - Dick Jackson, Lynn Goldman, Philip Landrigan, Ken Olden, Herbert Needleman - this book discusses governmental agencies' frustration and inability to effectively regulate and protect children from toxic chemicals, due to political, economic and legal interference with their efforts.


But beyond this expose' on the chemical regulatory system are the heartfelt stories of the families and communities that have suffered from industry's release of toxics into their environment, both legally and illegally. Excessive cases of birth defects in communities with TCE in their water. Brain tumors found in children living near nuclear power plants.  Autistic children born in towns with abandoned industrial factories.  Each case discussing the parent's desperate attempt to learn what could cause these illnesses, their frustration with the lack of comprehensive information on these chemicals, with the limitation of federal, state and local government officials, with the limited legal redress, with the few answers to their questions.  This is a book about them, about their challenges and frustrations, and about the hope of a new, less toxic generation of chemicals which may be awaiting us.


"Poisoned Profits" (Random House, NY 2008) by Philip Shabecoff and Alice Shabecoff

2008 Student Awardees

2008 Student Travel Award and Poster Award Recipients


Over the last few years the APHA Environment Section has received an increasing number of applicants for the Student Travel Award and this year was no exception. From the many qualified applicants we were able to award a select number of students to receive registration and/or a travel stipend to attend the meeting in San Diego. The following is a list of the 2008 Travel Awardees:


Jennifer Davis, University of South Carolina


Erica Finsness, University of Washington, School of Public Health and Community

Medicine, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences


Melissa Greer, George Washington University School of Public Health 


Micah Hahn, Rollins School of Public Health, Emorty University


Rachel Kauffman, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University


Brent Kim. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


Danny Kwon, Loma Linda University School of Public Health


Linda Lindquist, University of Maryland, Graduate School of Nursing


Anna M. Urban, University of Minnesota

Ni Zhao, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


The San Diego meeting student posters were exceptional this year, with a wide range of environmental health research topics.The following are the Student Poster Awardees for 2008:


First Place: Lesliam Quirós-Alcalá, MS, PhD Candidate, Center for

Children's Environmental Health Research, School of Public Health,

University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA


Second Place: Christopher K. Uejio, MA, Nelson Institute for

Environmental Studies, Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment,

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI


(Third place – Two Awards)

Third Place: Sarah Olson, BS BA , Department of Population Health

and the Nelson Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI


Third Place: Micah Hahn, Global Environmental Health Rollins School of

Public Health, Emory University


We would like thank all the sponsors who made these recognitions possible:


Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Centers for Disease Control


The Environment Section looks forward to working with the student awardees joining the section committees and invites everyone to join the APHA Environment Section Facebook Group. Look for the Travel Award application announcement in the spring of 2009.

2008 Damu Smith Awardee

2008 Damu Smith Environmental Health Achievement Award


Leadership comes in many forms and from many different communities. The Damu Smith Environmental Health Achievement Award  recognizes cross-cutting collaborative work that has enhanced or increased understanding of economic security, ecological conservation, culture or health by 1) developing leadership, building movement, or engaging youth; 2) partnering across differences; 3) achieving on–the–ground results; 4) funding equitably; 5) promoting respect by addressing racism, sexism and other oppressions through communication and education; 6) diversifying membership, workforce, or board; 7) modeling positive structural changes based on evaluation and accountability procedures.


In 2008, the Environment Section was pleased to present Mr. Hilton Kelley with the Damu Smith Environmental Health Achievement Award!  Mr. Kelley has served as the sole line of defense for his West Side African-American community, a group of neighborhoods proximate to the fence-line of a huge petrochemical manufacturing & storage complex: Shell-Motiva, Huntsman, Valero, BASF, FINA et al.  For the past 10 years, he has organized, educated and networked his community into the national web of environmental justice organizations, collaborating with such groups as the Chemical Weapons Working Group, Citizens League for Environmental Action Now

(CLEAN), T.e.j.a.s. (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services), Global Community Monitor, the National Bucket Brigade Coalition, the Environmental Integrity project and many more. Mr. Kelley is an indefatigable campaigner, a scientifically literate environmentalist, a staunch fighter for social justice, a positive thinker and a unifying force in his community around what have been highly contentious environmental health issues.  Congratulations Mr. Kelley for this wonderful recognition!

Update from National Library of Medicine

Update from the National Library of Medicine, Division of Specialized Information Services

Submitted by Colette Hochstein, DMD, MLS (Colette@nlm.nih.gov), Division of Specialized Information Services, NLM

January 2009


Evaluation of Environmental Health Education Needs

The Outreach and Special Populations Branch (OOSP) of Specialized Information Services is conducting focus groups with elementary and middle school teachers to assess the requirements and need for an environmental health education Web portal. The assessment will help in developing a comprehensive Web portal of environmental health and toxicology resources for elementary, middle and high school students and teachers. The resource will include links to informational Web pages, educational games, videos, podcasts and Webcasts, and lessons plans. The portal will be organized to allow easy matching to national curriculum benchmarks. The portal will utilize existing NLM resources for children and adolescents, as well as vet resources developed by other governmental and educational institutions.

Enviro-Health Links:  TVA Kingston Fossil Plant Coal Ash Spill, December 2008

On Dec. 22, 2008, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant’s retention pond failed, creating a tidal wave of water and fly ash which destroyed several homes and ruptured a major gas line in a neighborhood located adjacent to the plant in Harriman, Tenn. It is estimated that approximately 3.1 million cubic feet of fly ash and water were released on to land adjacent to the plant and into the nearby Clinch and Emory River. There is now concern about the potential effects of this spill on the quality of water, air and soil in the region.

From its extensive environmental health and toxicology resources, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) has compiled a Web page of links to chemical information on fly ash and medical journal articles on the ash’s possible human health effects, http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/enviro/coalashspill.html. These resources provide background information on fly ash, also known as coal ash, which is a by-product of burning coal in power plants to generate electricity.

Radiation Event Medical Management System (REMM)

The Radiation Event Medical Management System (REMM) can now be downloaded to mobile devices (Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Palm) with selected key files from the full online version.   http://remm.nlm.gov

For Blackberry download, click on the following link from your Blackberry e-mail and follow the directions: http://remm.nlm.gov/mremm/blackberry/ota/mremm.jad

REMM is produced by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Office of Planning and Emergency Operations, in cooperation with the National Library of Medicine, Division of Specialized Information Services, with subject matter experts from the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many US and international consultants.

REMM provides:

  • Guidance for health care providers, primarily physicians, about clinical diagnosis and treatment during mass casualty radiological/nuclear (rad/nuc) events.
  • Just-in-time, evidence-based, usable information with sufficient background and context to make complex issues understandable to those without formal radiation medicine expertise.
  • Web-based information that is also downloadable in advance, so that it would be available during an event if the internet is not accessible.


NLM Drug Information Portal

A new version of the National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal was released in October. The portal now covers over 16,000 drugs.  http://druginfo.nlm.nih.gov

The update includes:

1. Direct searching of drug categories, which are derived from the Medical Subject Heading (MeSH®) Pharmacological Action field http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/disted/mesh/paterms.html.

2. Name and category suggestions, to eliminate common spelling errors.

3. Phrase parser that assists users in finding drug names within phrases.

4. The addition of the MeSH notes, when available, to spell-checker results to make selection of a possible answer easier.

5. Searches retrieving multiple results now sorted by frequency of citation in PubMed®, from highest to lowest. This tends to show the most commonly used drugs first.

The Drug Information Portal is a free Web resource from the NLM that provides an informative, user friendly entry-way to current drug information for over 16,000 drugs. Links to sources span the breadth of NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 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 NLM Specialized Information Services Division has collaborated with the Carnegie Science Center (www.CarnegieScienceCenter.org) in Pittsburgh to create a ToxMystery exhibit kiosk. The kiosk was installed in the “Exploration Station” exhibition on the Science Center's fourth floor in late 2008.


The exhibit is a touch-screen computer kiosk that allows visitors to explore the ToxMystery house's rooms and garage. The kiosk's bright green and yellow design attracts kids to play and learn about toxic substances that can lurk in the home. The project is part of SIS's investigation into ways of closing the information gap in environmental health resources for elementary school age children. ToxMystery kiosk blueprints will be available for use by other museums.


ToxMystery (http://toxmystery.nlm.nih.gov) is the National Library of Medicine's interactive learning site for children ages 7 to 10. With lively animations, surprising sound effects and lots of positive reinforcement, ToxMystery provides a fun, game-like experience, while teaching important lessons about potential environmental health hazards.


The Carnegie Science Center is an interactive science museum with some 300 hands-on exhibits in approximately 75,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space.

Class Opportunity: TOXNET® and Beyond

The TOXNET® and Beyond class covers using the National Library of Medicine's Environmental Health and Toxicology Portal.  Classes will be held Wednesday, February 25, 2009 and Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. ET.

Feb. 25

National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Building 38A, 4th Floor Training Room (4S-412)
Bethesda, MD 20894

March 11

Folsom Lake College
Folsom Lake College Library
10 College Parkway
Folsom, CA 95630

This full-day class is designed to convey the basics of searching the NLM's TOXNET, a Web-based system of databases in the areas of toxicology, environmental health, and related subjects. Students learn the content and structure of files covering toxicology data, toxicology literature, toxic releases, and chemical searching and nomenclature. Among the databases highlighted are TOXLINE®, the Hazardous Substances Data Bank, the Integrated Risk Information System, the Toxic Release Inventory, and ChemIDplus. This class is for U.S. domestic searchers. There are no fees for training, but students must cover their own travel and lodging. Classes are held throughout the United States. The training schedule and other details are available from the National Training Center and Clearinghouse. http://nnlm.gov/ntcc

The TOXNET class is awarded 6 MLA continuing education credits.http://nnlm.gov/ntcc/classes/schedule.html#class5

Contact: Eva Daniels (800) 338-7657 (press 2); edaniels@nyam.org  

Stay Updated!

NLM-Tox-Enviro-Health-L is an e-mail announcement list available from the National Library of Medicine's Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS). The purpose of the announcement list is to broadcast updates on SIS's resources, services, and outreach in toxicology and environmental health. The NLM-Tox-Enviro-Health-L Archives allow users to search list postings, and to modify subscription options.

To subscribe to the NLM-Tox-Enviro-Health-L announcement list, please send the following text in the body of an e-mail to listserv@list.nih.gov: SUBSCRIBE NLM-Tox-Enviro-Health-L your name or use the list serv web page:


Call for Abstracts

Environment Section Call for Abstracts
APHA Annual Meeting, Philadelphia
Water and Public Health: The 21st Century Challenge
Nov. 7-11, 2009


The Environment Section is seeking abstracts and full session proposals for the 2009 APHA Annual Meeting on "Water and Public Health: The 21st Century Challenge" to be held Nov. 7-11, 2009, in Philadelphia. A clean and adequate water supply is essential for public health, and many of the environmental health challenges facing the world today involve water in some capacity. From climate change to biofuels, water and sewer infrastructure to drinking water contaminants, water emerges as a component of many current and emerging environmental public health issues.


NOTE: Per APHA policy - All accepted presenters are required to register for the conference and join APHA if not already a member. A limited number of one-day free passes may be given to nonmembers who are invited to speak as part of a full session.


The section encourages you to submit abstracts describing research studies, innovative policies, or programs that address an environmental health problem. While abstracts reflecting any innovative work highlighting environmental health will be reviewed, the Environment Section will place emphasis on abstracts related to the following topics:

  • Built Environment (ex: housing, relationships between health and urban infrastructure, urbanization, sewer/water infrastructure, recycled water)
  • Children's Environmental Health (ex: environmental risks at home and at school, environmental health risks with disproportionate impacts on children, pharmaceuticals in drinking water)
  • Clean Air and Water (ex: pollution, waterborne disease, water scarcity, tertiary water purification systems, microbial risk assessment)
  • Climate Change (coastal impacts and health, climate change and water quality, food and climate change, energy and climate change)
  • Ecosystems and Human Health (ex: sustainable use of land, resources or energy; interactions between ecosystems and human health; natural disasters, dying oceans, toxic exposure in subsistence fishing communities, geological sequestration systems, flooding, harmful algal blooms)
  • Emerging Environmental Health Challenges (ex: persistent bioaccumulative toxins, endocrine disruptors, biotechnology, nanotechnology, emerging infectious disease and environment, pharmaceuticals in drinking water)
  • Environmental Justice and Health Disparities (ex: influence of social, economic, or cultural factors on environmental health risks; exposure, impact, or policy inequities; inequities in sewer/water infrastructure and access to clean water; water shortages)
  • Food and the Environment (ex: food contamination in production or distribution, environmental impacts of the current food system, sustainable food production, food and climate change, food and farm policy; water scarcity and water requirements for current food system)
  • Global Environmental Health (ex: climate change and water, international environmental health, transboundary pollution and waste (especially impacts on water), impacts of global economy, drinking water purification)
  • Science to Support Decision-making and Policies (ex: biomonitoring, environmental health tracking, health impact assessment, energy use with water distribution systems)
  • Student Achievement Poster Award Track (submit abstract for consideration for the Environment Section’s Student Achievement Poster Award)
  • Support for Local Environmental Health (ex: infrastructure, fostering leadership, workforce, unregulated water systems (e.g. wells, septic), climate change)

The topics and examples listed above are meant to stimulate ideas for abstract submission. The topics are not exhaustive or mutually exclusive. In fact, the Section encourages integrative approaches to environmental health. When choosing a track for abstract submission, authors should select the one they feel best represents the major focus of the abstract.


Oral Session: 90 minute session with 4 or 5 presentations of 10 to 20 minutes in length.
Poster Session: Sets of 10 posters organized and presented together within a 60-minute session.
Roundtable Session: 90 minute session with a set of round tables where each table has a different speaker. Participants rotate from table to table to participate in different discussions. NOTE: Audiovisual equipment (e.g., computer, LCD projector, etc.) is not available during roundtable sessions.
Panel Discussion: 90 minute session comprised of 4-5 panelists discussing a specific topic or set of closely related topics.

Please note that learning objectives are required for each submitted abstract. Guidance and information about appropriate learning objectives can be found at: http://apha.confex.com/apha/learningobjectives.htm

Continuing Education Credit
APHA values the ability to provide continuing education credit to physicians, nurses and health educators at its annual meeting. Please complete all required information when submitting an abstract so members can claim credit for attending your session. These credits are necessary for members to keep their licenses and credentials.

For a session to be eligible for Continuing Education Credit, each presenter must provide:
1. an abstract free of trade and/or commercial product names.
2. at least one MEASURABLE objective (to understand or to learn are not measurable objectives). Examples of acceptable measurable action words: explain, demonstrate, analyze, formulate, discuss, compare, differentiate, describe, name, assess, evaluate, identify, design, define or list.
3. A signed Conflict of Interest form with a relevant qualification statement.

Thank you for your assistance in making your session credit worthy. Contact Annette Ferebee at www.annette.ferebee@apha.org  if you have any questions.


Proposals for full sessions are welcome. Full sessions are comprised of invited speakers who will address different aspects of the same topic of high interest. A variety of formats are acceptable including oral sessions, roundtables, and panel discussions. To submit a proposal, you must:

1. Request the Full Invited Session Proposal Form from the program planners at: apha.environment@yahoo.com  
2. Return completed Proposal Form to the program planners at: apha.environment@yahoo.com  
3. Proposal Form must be received BEFORE 5:00 p.m. EST, Jan. 22, 2009

If a Full Session Proposal is accepted, the applicant will be notified by Feb. 2, 2009. Submitter(s) will then be directed to enter the individual abstracts comprising the full session online during the APHA window for invited/solicited abstract submissions, March 16, 2009 to April 17, 2009. If the Full Session Proposal is not accepted, the Environment Section encourages submission of the individual abstracts by Feb. 9, 2009.


PRESENTATION FORMATS: Please state your preferred format
1. Oral presentations are organized into 90 minute sessions with 4 or 5 presentations of 10 to 20 minutes in length.
2. Poster presentations are organized into sets of 10 within a 60-minute session.
3. Other possible formats include round tables or panel discussions.

Research Presentations
Abstracts describing research projects or case studies should focus on new knowledge of environmental health issues. The presentation and abstract should include the purpose of the study, a hypothesis or study question, detailed methods and results, and specific conclusions.

Policy or Program Presentations
Policy or program abstracts should describe the application of knowledge to real-world problems or policies. The presentation and abstract should include a problem statement and specific conclusions describing resolution of the problem. Strong preference will be given to abstracts that include systematic assessment of the policy or program, with detailed description of methods and findings.

All abstracts will be peer-reviewed and ranked for quality, topic applicability, adherence to abstract requirements, and relation to overall Section priorities. Every effort will be made to accommodate the author's presentation preference for accepted abstracts (e.g., oral presentation or poster). However, the Environment Section may not be able to accommodate all presentation preferences. To submit your abstract, you must:

1. Submit online via APHA's Web site (If you do not have Internet access, please contact the APHA Program Staff for specific instructions).
2. Complete all specified steps and click "SUBMIT ABSTRACT".
3. Check that abstract is 250 words or less 250 words (abstracts over 250 words will not be accepted).
4. Submit online by 5:00 pm EST, Feb. 13, 2009.


Students of programs in environmental health, public health, and other health related fields are encouraged to submit abstracts pertaining to their academic research. Interested students should submit their abstract into the Environment Section's "Student Achievement Poster Award Track." Please note that abstracts submitted into other topic related tracks will not be considered for the award.

Students must submit an abstract including a well thought out study purpose and detailed methods (250 words or less). Submitted abstracts will be reviewed for relevance to environmental health and the student's clarity in describing the work that will be or has been done. While it is understood results may not be available by the Feb. 13, 2009, abstract submission deadline, it is expected that final student posters will include details about the study purpose, methods, results and specific conclusions.

Up to ten abstracts will be selected for poster presentation during the Environment Section's Student Achievement Poster Award Session. During the poster session, students and their posters will be judged for presentation style, knowledge of the subject matter, and project quality. Up to three finalists will be honored at the Environment Section Social Hour.

Eligibility requirements:

1. Work must have been completed by the student as part of an environmental health, public health, or other health related degree program.
2. A student must be enrolled for enough credit hours during fall semester 2009 to be considered in good standing as at least a part-time student, or have graduated from their program between May-August 2009. If the abstract is accepted for presentation, proof of student status will be requested.
3. The student must be the first and presenting author on their contributed abstract.
4. To be eligible for an award the student must present the work at the APHA meeting and attend the Environment Section Social Hour (extenuating circumstances that prevent a student from presenting at APHA and attending the Environment Section Social Hour will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis).
5. Students that have received an award in previous years are not eligible to resubmit unless they are working on a different degree.

A limited number of student travel awards are available. It is not necessary to submit an abstract to be eligible for a travel award; however, extra consideration will be given to students who submit an abstract. For information about travel awards, contact Nse Witherspoon at nobot@cehn.org.

All abstracts of papers to be considered for presentation in the Film and Technology Theater must first be submitted to a Section, SPIG, Caucus or Forum for content review. If you are submitting to the Environment Section but want to be considered for the Film and Technology Theater, please check the box on the submission form to indicate your presentation requires use of the Film and Technology Theater. Technology dependent presentations will be shown in the morning sessions and public health films will be shown in the afternoon.

The Film and Technology Theater is a venue for live presentations of information and computer technology applications for public health and for the showing of public health films and related audiovisuals. It is a fully equipped meeting room with Internet access, LCD projection capability, and theater-quality video projection and stereo audio and is available for presenters who need to show a film or whose abstracts/sessions are technology-based and technology-dependent.


Kacee Deener, MPH
Office of Research and Development
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW (8601P)
Washington, DC 20460-0001
Phone: (703) 347-8514

Yolanda Sanchez, MS, MPA
Office of Research and Development
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW (8723F)
Washington, DC 20460-0001
Phone: (202) 343-9613

To ensure the quickest and safest handling of your inquiry, request or Full-Session Proposal, please use the following e-mail address and not the program planners' work e-mail: apha.environment@yahoo.com

Policy Committee Update

APHA has identified policy gaps for which it is most interested in seeing new policy statements.  Of the 12 listed, those most relevant to Environmental Health include:


·         Health reform and the changing role of the public health system. 

·         The economics of public health/scoring public health programs.

·         Water and public health.

·         Healthy and affordable housing.

·         Green collar jobs.

·         Economic development and human health and welfare.

·         Public health workforce issues.  

·         Use of performance measures in public health research and practice.

·         Preventive Health.

Proposed new resolutions and position papers for the 2009 New Policy Process are due in electronic form to APHA headquarters by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Feb. 17. Proposals should be sent to policy@apha.org. 


-Members will have the opportunity to review proposed new policies during the month of March, with comments due March 31.  I will try to communicate to the section those proposed policies that might most benefit from member input.

-A review of existing policies will be taking place during February and May.

-Members seeking to submit policies should consider consulting the policy committee chair for guidance, especially if they are unfamiliar with the process.  Also, anyone with an interest in assisting with the review process should contact John Balbus at jbalbus@edf.org. 

APHA Environmental Health Update

Update from APHA Environmental Health Policy Staff


Happy New Year from APHA’s environmental health policy staff! We have accomplished a great deal over the past year and are looking forward to another exciting year ahead. APHA priorities for Congress and the new administration are now online and include climate change and transportation policy.


Some of you may have heard: we have a new director for the Center for Public Health Policy at APHA, Sue Abramson. Sue comes to us from the George Washington University’s Department of Health Policy. Please join us in welcoming her!


The fall was busy and productive! APHA has committed to working diligently to ensure that new transportation policies are healthy and equitable. At the Annual Meeting, many of you saw our report At the Intersection of Public Health and Transportation, which was developed as part of our partnership with Transportation for America. In December, APHA met with other public health partners to create a consensus policy platform to further support the T4America campaign. In November, APHA staff and members participated in a CDC Linking Transportation Policy and Public Health meeting where attendees identified strategies that promote public health objectives in national transportation policies. Our support of transportation policy transformation will continue throughout the coming year.


In December, we embarked on a revitalization of an environmental public health coalition – to enhance coordination and collaboration among partners at the national level. APHA will work closely with a subset of these organizations to establish support and leadership for the coalition. Ultimately we aim to develop mechanisms for better communication, identify opportunities for joint action, and capitalize on shared resources.


Later this month we will be posting a new product on our site – Breathing Easier – describing the activities and successes of CDC’s National Asthma Control Program.


From Feb. 24-26, the CDC National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program will launch their network at during the TRACKS 2009 Conference in Washington, D.C. Please consider attending the conference and definitely check out the network in February!


Finally, we’ve all heard that stories – not facts – are what motivate people. We have taken that message to heart.  As part of our efforts to update our environmental health Web page we would like to begin collecting your stories – about the value of environmental public health, why you are a passionate professional, how you got into the field – anything that will help connect what we all do to those less familiar. We are working to figure out how to best collect these and so anticipate hearing more about this soon.


Best wishes in the new year!


Tracy and Amanda

Message from the Chair

Welcome to all continuing and new members of the Environment Section. It is, as has been said, “the best of times, the worst of times.”  We all look forward to the new president and his administration, and hopefully, the reinvigoration of environmental protection and public health.  As members of the Environment Section, you can contribute to improving health and the environment, by participating in the work of the Section. And what is the work of the Wection? Our specific initiatives encompass:

  • The Built Environment,
  • Global Climate Change,
  • Environmental Justice and
  • Healthy Foods (including agricultural practices, local foods, and in many other related issues).

Do you want to know more about what we do? Please visit our Web page: http://www.apha.org/membergroups/sections/aphasections/env/


In addition to conducting exciting project work that contributes to national and local health and environment issues, the Section and its members work hard to maintain the strength of the Environment Section. Please consider joining a project team, or in Section activities such as the membership team, writing an article for the newsletter, or exploring running for office. Your participation can be any length of service or amount of effort and remains critical to the strength of the Section in being able to continue our work.


And how do we work with APHA? We have contributed to the organization's initiatives on environmental justice, climate change and the two combined: climate justice. Healthy foods and all related aspects remain a priority of APHA. Not only do we work with the organization, but we also work with other sections on these topics, such as food and nutrition.


To emphasize public health, let’s celebrate National Public Health Week, April 6-12, with the emphasis on Building the Foundation for a Healthy America. To promote environmental protection and health, this year’s theme of the Nov. 7-11 Annual APHA Meeting in Philadelphia is Water and Public Health: the 21st Century Challenge and is particularly meaningful to our Section.


So again, welcome to the Environment Section and 2009. Let's make this a meaningful year. 



Rebecca A. Head