Children's Health Protection
EPA’s 2007 Children’s Health Month Activities, Materials, and Accomplishments
Choose from the EPA regions or EPA offices below to learn how each celebrated Children’s Health Month 2007.
- Region 1: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
- Region 2: New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands
- Region 3: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia
- Region 4: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee
- Region 5: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin
- Region 6: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
- Region 7: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska
- Region 8: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming
- Region 9: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands
- Region 10: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington
- Regions 6, 8, and 10
- Office of Prevention, Pesticides & Toxic Substances (OPPTS) and the Office of Public Affairs (OPA)
- OPPTS/Office of Water (OW)
- Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER)/Region 10
- Office of Air and Radiation (OAR)/Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)
- Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education (OCHPEE), OPA, OW, Region 5
- OCHPEE, Office of Research and Development (ORD)/ National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)/Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC)
- Finalization of our EPA New England Healthy Schools brochure (companion to our Healthy Homes brochure) --- now in product review
- Publication of our regional municipality newsletter, The Local Landscape, October issue focused specifically on CEH issues
- World Water Monitoring Day events with children last week in New England
- SPCC oils spills prevention informational letter mailings to school districts in NE states
- Diesel School Bus outreach/awareness activity with the Boston Federal Executive Board
- Lead Prevention Week outreach/awareness activities including posting: Learn About Lead Hazards in the Home. EPA resources help families learn how to protect themselves during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week on our regional website
- Regional CEH energizing awareness message to all regional employees
- Nora Conlon participated in the planning of the Children's Environmental Health Workshop: Discover, Treat, Prevent, Prepare.
Successful media event to announce a $100,000 Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) grant to WE ACT, a northern Manhattan community-based, environmental justice organization. The community suffers from high rates of asthma, especially among children, and has identified air pollution as one of its top priorities. The grant will target:
- Pest infestation and improper use of pesticides, which creates exposure to allergens and can exacerbate asthma.
- Two sewage treatment plants that impact air and water quality.
- Poor indoor air from housing disrepair, mold contamination, lead in household dust from peeling lead paint and poor ventilation plagues many residential buildings, which are in close proximity to polluting sources.
- Regional Administrator Don Welsh sent an awareness message to employees commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 13045 and highlighting the Agencies children’s health activities over the last 10 years.
- The West Chester newspaper featured an article from the Regional Administrator Don Welsh commemorating the 10th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 13045. The Regional Administrator highlighted successful regional activities that have improved the health of the children in the mid-Atlantic region.
- The telephone hold message for the Regional Office was dedicated to providing children’s health information for the month of October. Basic facts on asthma, energy star, lead poisoning, and radon along with the website and toll free numbers were provided to callers.
- 5th Annual Conference on Children’s Health and the Environment was held on October 6th in Reston, VA. Targeted to health care providers, public health and environmental professionals and the interested public, the conference explored the intersection between the environment and child health issues. This year’s conference focused on environmental factors influencing autism, environmental terrorism and preparedness in school settings, environmental changes and its contribution to the obesity epidemic, forecasting child health issues due to climate change, how-to green your medical practice and home, air pollution and compromised respiratory function. The conference is a partnership between the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment (MACCHE), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- The Academy of Natural Sciences hosted its 2nd Annual Children’s Environmental Health Fair in conjunction with organizations around the Philadelphia area. The purpose of this year’s fair was to communicate the interconnectedness between the choice individuals make on a daily basis and the long term effects on the environment. EPA staff provided information on energy star, green buildings, healthy gardens, pesticides and other information.
- EPA Regional Administrator Don Welsh presented a $100,000 check to Lt Governor, John Carney Jr. and Jaime Rivera, MD, FAAP, Director, Delaware Division of Public Health for the purpose of preventing childhood lead poisoning. The funds will be used to screen 1,000 homes occupied by pregnant women and families with children 0-3 years of age to determine lead risk factors and appropriate follow-up. The check presentation was made at the Latin American Community Center and was attended by representative from congressional offices as well and neighborhood residents. The event was also covered by local media including WHYY and WPVI channel 6.
- EPA Region 3 Toxics Programs participated in a community health fair held at the Open Heart Church of Philadelphia to promote awareness of lead based paint hazards to children.
- National Mid-Year conference on eliminating childhood lead poisoning, implementing healthy homes programs, and combating indoor environmental hazards was held in Philadelphia. EPA and HUD partnered to present the federal government’s role in primary prevention for lead and other indoor environmental hazards.
- EPA staff presented on childhood asthma in the mid-Atlantic Region to Ben Franklin scholars at the University of Pennsylvania. Staff discussed the current state of asthma in the Region, specifically in PA and the activities that were going on through the state to improve the quality of life for asthmatic children.
- EPA Region 4 and the Northwest Girl Scout Council hosted the 2007 Girl Scout Environmental Awareness Day at Camp Timber Ridge in Mableton, GA on October 27, 2007 in recognition of Children’s Health Month. This was the 6th year where more than three dozen volunteers from all the Region 4 program offices shared their knowledge and enthusiasm by conducting activities to enable over 350 Scouts to earn Environmental Health and Eco-Action Badges.
- Region 4’s exhibit, Making Wise Choices on Fish for a Healthy Diet, was displayed in the main hall at the Georgia State Aquarium during Children’s Health Month. The exhibit was viewed by 50,000 visitors. Both EPA and aquarium staff provided information on Advisory Guidelines for Mercury to Aquarium visitors.
- Fort Bragg will be receiving the IPM Star Certification from the IPM Institute, Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program Partner, for instituting IPM at their child development centers in early November. These four centers are used by over 11,000 children.
- During National Lead Week, Walltown's Children's Theater performed "The Flakes Play" for schools around Durham, North Carolina reaching over 2000 children.
- Children’s Health Month Exhibits were set up on the EPA’s 9th floor lobby and the Atlanta Federal Center lobby. The exhibit was staffed by representatives from different programs throughout October.
- An article on Children’s Health Month was published in the Region 4 newsletter, the EPA 4Front, and promoted on the LAN.
- Children’s Environmental Health Education and Outreach Packages were provided to Agency staff to conduct education and outreach at their children’s schools, churches and health fairs.
- The Southeast PEHSU gave a presentation at Tuskegee University’s Biomedical Research Symposium on Pediatric Health Disparities. EPA displayed their Children’s Environmental Health exhibit and distributed information.
- Our partners in the Region 4 States, the Cooperative Extension Network, conducted children environmental health education and outreach activities.
- The Children’s Environmental Health Program will set up a display and share resources and tools which address children’s health hazards to CARE communities as they meet for the 2007 National CARE Conference in Atlanta.
- Children’s Environmental Health staff teamed with EPA staff from water and waste programs to participate in the Sunbelt Agriculture Exposition 2007 in Moultrie, GA. Approximately 10,000 visitors from Georgia and surrounding states visited with staff and received material on Children’s Environmental Health Issues.
- The National Lead Safety Tour was hosted in Region 4 at the Villages of Carver YMCA. Information was given out on Lead Safety and Children's Environmental Health and EPA conducted educational programs for parents, children, homeowners and contractors on how to be lead safe. EPA also gave out information on the new Renovation, Remodeling and Painting (RRP) rule and the Lead Based Paint Disclosure rule. Georgia EPD tested toys for lead and provided informational sessions on "Hiring a Lead Contractor for your Home," "Protecting your Family from Lead in the Home when doing Lead Repairs," and "The Lead Certification Process in Georgia."
- Staff participated in the American Lung Association of Tennessee’s LungFest asthma event in Chattanooga, Tennessee. During the event, EPA Staff and healthcare professionals provided education, awareness and information to the public.
- Edward Master presented a segment of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention for Hispanic Community Leaders Webcast, which was directed to Hispanic community leaders.
- Tonesia Rouse and Jim Nash did children's environmental health outreach at the inaugural "Green Living Festival" which was sponsored by the City of Evanston, IL and the Evanston Environmental Association.
- John Wsol worked with Paramount Healthcare, Maumee, OH on a mailing to 2900 Medicaid families in Ohio and Michigan, with information about lead poisoning prevention.
- Staff from Regions 5 and 7, state health departments (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MO, MN, NE, OH, WI) and tribes met in St. Louis, MO, to promote the elimination of childhood lead poisoning in the Midwest by 2010, to explore opportunities for information exchange, technology transfer and partnership, to improve relationships between state/tribal programs, EPA regions, and local agencies and organizations, and to troubleshoot problems and work to solve problems through open dialogue.
- Maryann Suero participated in the planning of the Children's Environmental Health Workshop: Discover, Treat, Prevent, Prepare.
Region 6Region 6 collaborated with our Children's Health program and Health Museum in Houston by providing information about protecting children’s environmental health along with mercury-free thermometers and mercury information for the museum to pass along to parents who attend the unique exhibit: Sesame Street Presents: The Body. The Health Museum highlighted children's health throughout the month of October. In-person visitors had multiple opportunities to access helpful tips and information, courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency. Virtual visitors to the Museum's Web site, www.thehealthmuseum.org , could also access this information by selecting the link to the EPA’s children’s health Web page www.epa.gov/region6/children.
Region 7Children’s Health Month was featured in press releases, radio and TV interviews.
Region 8 announced the creation of a Regional Tribal National Children's Environmental Health Partnership Forum and List Server. The purpose of the Forum will be to encourage coordination and information sharing across Tribal and government agencies, health organizations, health care providers, and educators in addressing children’s environmental health issues; and, share information, best practices, resources, and emerging science regarding protection of children from environmental hazards. The following groups will be invited to participate: all Region 8 Tribal Nations CEH Summit attendees; all Region 8 Tribal Environmental and Health Directors; the RMR PEHSU; the Regional EPA CEH Team members; Region 8 ATSDR and CDC; and IHS Area Offices. The List Server will be used to keep Forum members informed of new developments in CEH issues, and to share ideas, activities, information and resources available to address these issues. The Forum will meet quarterly via conference calls for approximately 60 – 90 minutes. Starting in January 08, the Forum also will feature presentations by National and Regional CEH experts.
A similar Regional State CEH Partnership Forum and List Server including all State CEH points of contact, Regional CEH Team members, DHHS representatives (ATSDR, ACF) and PEHSU representatives will be announced in November.
In conjunction with National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and Children’s Health Month, EPA awarded $96,798 to the University of Nevada - Las Vegas to develop a cost-effective method of screening imported candy to identify lead hazards. This grant will help identify lead-contaminated candy, and remove it from the consumer marketplace.
EPA awarded grants to the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians (Big Valley Rancheria) and the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe to reduce childhood lead poisoning. The awards are part of a national EPA program that includes $970,000 of grant funds in 2007 for federally-recognized tribes to eliminate childhood lead poisoning as a health threat in the United States by 2010. These grants will help the two tribes inform their residents about potential health hazards from lead, especially risks to young children.
EPA awarded $221,860 to local agencies in the City of South San Francisco, Santa Cruz County, and San Joaquin County to assist national efforts on preventing childhood lead poisoning. South San Francisco’s Fire Department intends to use its $100,000 grant to help ensure lead-safe homes, and provide vouchers for blood lead screening for children not covered by other health programs. Outreach efforts include training on lead hazard awareness and lead-safe work practices for contractors, property owners, parents and childcare providers. With its $94,000 grant, Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency intends to screen 1,000 children to determine their blood lead levels as part of multi-agency efforts to achieve the national strategic goal of eliminating childhood lead poisoning in the nation by 2010. San Joaquin County Public Health Services will use its $27,860 grant to assess lead poisoning risk among immigrant and African-American children living in San Joaquin County. The project’s goal is to better identify the risks of lead poisoning for children two-years-old and younger residing in older housing.
EPA awarded $235,914 in federal grants to health partners in Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego to assist national efforts on preventing childhood lead poisoning, including children of low-income families of Cambodian and Thai ancestry. The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services will use its $100,000 grant to increase lead education and reduce childhood blood lead poisoning among residents of Cambodian (Khmer) ancestry living in pre-1978 multi-unit residential buildings. Half of the Cambodian-ancestry population in the U.S. lives in California, and Long Beach has the highest density of Cambodian-Americans in the nation. The San Diego Environmental Services Department received a $99,914 grant to undertake a multi-pronged effort to reduce blood lead poisoning cases among children living in the City of San Diego. In Los Angeles, Thai Health and Information Services, Inc., a non-profit entity, will use its $36,000 grant to promote lead education, and to determine blood lead levels in 175 to 200 young Thai-ancestry children from low-income households in Hollywood, North Hollywood and Los Angeles.
- Co-sponsored SC3 Event @ King County School with OSWER. (See listing below with OSWER.)
- Region 10 hosted the Fall meeting of the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) in Sun Valley, Idaho. In recognition of Children’s Health Month, the October edition of ECOS Green Report provides an update on recent activities related to children’s and environmental health. During their meeting, ECOS passed three resolutions on children’s environmental health, reducing environmental factors that affect asthma in children, and support for the National Children’s Study research plan. In addition, the state environment and health agencies and EPA Region 10 held the second Northwest Environmental Health Forum to discuss progress on the past year’s activities and to identify new priority environmental health issues for collaboration.
Regions 6, 8, and 10
The 2007 Tribal Nations Children's Environmental Health (CEH) Summit in Denver, CO was organized by EPA and Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs) from Region 6 (AR, LA, NM, OK, & TX), Region 8 (CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, and WY), and Region 10 (AK, ID, OR, and WA). The Summit is being planned in partnership with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and Indian Health Service (IHS). The Summit was a success. Approximately 140 individuals attended representing individual Tribes all the way from Alaska to New Mexico, National and Regional Tribal organizations, Tribal universities and colleges, and many other Federal, international and local agencies responsible for ensuring the protection of children’s health from environmental contaminants.
OPPTS and OPA
Kathy Seikel of Office of Pesticide Programs and Lina Younes of OPA undertook a program of media outreach to deliver the message “Maintaining a Healthy Home” to Hispanic communities across the U.S. and Latin America during Children’s Health Month. There have been two television interviews, including CNN en espanol’s Consulta Medica, and Cada Dia on the Telemundo Network. These two networks reach 4 million and 1.5 million Hispanic households in the U.S., respectively. Four newspaper interviews, including La Opinion in Los Angeles, were conducted. La Opinion reaches nearly half a million readers daily. Finally, there were six radio interviews, including stations in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and CNN Radio en Espanol, which potentially reaches every affiliate station in the country. The interviews were conducted with EPA’s Hispanic Spokesperson, Lina Younes, and with EPA regional office representatives. The messages have focused on identifying health, safety, and quality of life issues in the home and encouraging residents to act to eliminate or reduce problems.
OPP manned a booth promoting IPM at the DC Asthma-Free Schools conference held at George Washington University. This event was co-sponsored by the National Capital Asthma Coalition and MACCHE (the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children's Environmental), the Region 3 PEHSU in Washington, DC.
Getting Lead Out of the Home - National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is set aside to educate parents and children about the dangers of lead exposure, especially lead-paint hazards in housing. As part of the observance, many states and communities offered free lead screening, and conduct education and awareness events. The theme for this year's lead week was "Protect Our Most Valuable Resource -- Our Children."
Lead exposure among young children has been drastically reduced over the last three decades due to federal, state and local regulations that banned lead in gasoline and house paint, and efforts to reduce or cleanup lead in industrial emissions, drinking water, consumer goods, hazardous sites and other sources. In 1978, there were about 13.5 million children in the United States with elevated blood-lead levels. Today, approximately 310,000 children ages 1-5 years in the United States have elevated blood-lead levels. It is the federal government's goal to totally eliminate childhood lead poisoning by 2010.
Although most lead exposure occurs when people eat lead-paint chips or lead-dust, EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of human exposure to lead may come from lead in drinking water. A DVD, "What Your School or Child Care Facility Should Know About Lead in Drinking Water" was recently made available to the public and sent to the 50 largest school districts in the country to help increase their understanding of the importance of testing for lead in drinking water.
EPA Calls for Partnering on School Chemical Safety: OSWER’S Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine and Region 10’s Regional Administrator Elin Miller sponsored an event with the Department of Education recognizing the successful clean-up activities of the Federal Way High School in King County, Washington and welcoming five new community partners and industry leaders that have recently joined SC3 to help schools safely manage their chemicals.
Community partners and industry leaders that have recently joined SC3 to help schools safely manage their chemicals include the American Chemical Society, BASF Corporation White Stone site, Employers Mutual Casualty Companies, MKC Enterprises Inc., North American Hazardous Materials Management Association, and Pollution Control Industries.
EPA’s Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign can help the nation’s 33,000 middle and high schools that have outdated or improperly stored chemicals find partners to give advice in safe chemical removal and management. EPA is challenging companies and other organizations with chemical expertise to be good neighbors and help schools in their community.
EPA’s program helps schools safely manage chemicals and avoid costly, and possibly dangerous, accidental chemical spills. The campaign provides schools with a free Web-based toolkit and connects school officials with local experts and industry leaders in chemical management who can assist in safely removing the chemicals from school property. Program partners can offer a broad range of services to schools, from conducting chemical inventories to training school personnel in responsible chemical management.
OAR and OECA staff participated in the Verizon Children's Health Festival on Oct 13, 2007 giving out several hundred copies of Live, Learn and Play and other EPA materials. Whitney Trulove Cranor from Region 8 also participated in this event.
Science, imagination, education, healthier kids and a cleaner environment came together when Scholastic Inc. and EPA teamed up to clean up the Magic School Bus. The Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up was released this month– a new special edition book based on the popular Scholastic series – taking children on a smart, fun and colorful trip to learn what can be done to protect their lungs and their world from air pollution.
"President Bush and EPA are making that black puff of diesel smoke from school buses something children only learn about in history class," said EPA Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock. "This book is a fun way to inspire our children to make our communities cleaner, healthier places to live." EPA Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock read the book to second graders gathered in Cunningham Park Elementary School library in Vienna, Va., outside Washington, D.C. Afterward, the students boarded Scholastic's traveling Magic School Bus, which is an interactive science experience for children. The bus, which had a new diesel particulate filter installed, courtesy of Caterpillar Inc., has had its particulate matter pollution reduced by up to 90 percent.
Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of diesel emissions, which can cause respiratory disease and exacerbate long-term conditions, such as asthma. EPA has set stringent standards to dramatically cut nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from new heavy-duty diesel engines, such as those used in school buses. EPA addresses emissions from the nation's existing fleet of school buses through Clean School Bus USA, a component of the National Clean Diesel Campaign. Clean School Bus USA brings together partners from business, education, transportation and public health organizations to eliminate unnecessary school bus idling, add pollution control devices to buses, and replace the oldest buses with new, cleaner buses. Because of Clean School Bus USA, more than 2 million students across the country are riding on cleaner buses. The special edition book is Clean School Bus USA's first partnership with Scholastic.
OCHPEE, OPA, OW, Region 5Webcast: Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention for Hispanic Community Leaders: On October 1, EPA offered a Webcast in Spanish (an Agency first) about the importance of decreasing children's contact with lead as part of its Distinguished Speaker Webcast Series. In celebration of Children's Health Month, this Webcast urged Hispanic Leaders to spread the word to their communities about the importance of decreasing children's contact with lead. Issues addressed included: the importance of lead poisoning prevention; the health effects and exposure routes of lead; lead poisoning prevention resources; and case studies concerning lead exposure.
2007 Children's Environmental Health Report: In honor of Children’s Health Month, EPA released Children's Environmental Health: 2007 Highlights. The publication is the seventh in an annual series highlighting EPA work to protect children from environmental risks. This year marks the tenth year of explicit attention to the health of children following the Executive Order of 1997, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. EPA has funded research on how the environment affects children’s health, promoted the education of health care providers, assembled data to quantify the extent of the issues, and been an international leader of children’s health issues. Children’s Environmental Health: 2007 Highlights captures all this and more.
The Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Awards were presented to recognize ongoing and sustainable dedication to, and notable leadership in, protecting children from environmental health risks at the local, regional, national, and international level. Award categories included:
- Building Health Professional Capacity
- Corporate Leader
- Promoting Healthy School Environments
- Science Achievement
OCHPEE, ORD/NCER, ATSDR/AOEC
2007 Children's Environmental Health Workshop: Discover, Treat, Prevent, Prepare: This workshop brought together the expertise and experience of the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units of North America and the Children’s Environmental Health Centers to explore the latest research findings and their practical application in community settings. This workshop is sponsored by the US Environmental Protection Agency (Office of Research and Development and Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education), the Department of Health and Human Services (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), and the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics in recognition of 10 years of Federal effort to protect children’s environmental health as called for in Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks.