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Children's Health Protection

Children's Health Protection News and Events

Choose from the topics below to find the latest news about children's environmental health:

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Recent Product Recalls

Below are the 10 most recent children's environmental health-related product recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and other sources:

View additional product recalls from the CPSC or find information on the danger of metals used in children’s jewelry.

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General Children's Environmental Health News

  • Protecting children’s health where they live, learn, and play is a top priority for the EPA. April 8, 2014, is National Healthy Schools Day, a day dedicated to promoting healthy school environments for children. Healthy Schools Day is coordinated by Healthy Schools Network, Inc. in cooperation with the EPA to promote> EPA’s environmental health guidelines and programs for schools and children’s health.

    Children in the United States continue to face risks from exposure to pests and pesticides in schools stuck on a pest control treadmill. EPA encourages the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a smart, sensible, and sustainable approach to pest control that focuses on addressing the underlying issues that make schools attractive to pests. IPM reduces the risk from pests and pesticides for students and staff. National Healthy Schools Day provides a perfect opportunity to emphasize the importance of IPM in schools.

    Today and throughout the year, EPA supports the use of IPM as a means to a healthier school environment. A school IPM program uses common sense strategies to reduce sources of food, water and shelter for pests in school buildings and grounds. An IPM program takes advantage of all pest management tactics, including the judicious and careful use of pesticides when necessary. Put simply, IPM is a safer, and usually less costly option for effective pest management in a school community.

    By recently awarding more than $500,000 in grants to facilitate IPM use by schools, and establishing the EPA Center of Expertise for School IPM, EPA is helping school districts adopt this smart, sensible and sustainable approach to pest control.

    EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM serves as a resource for school districts seeking to develop and implement an IPM program. The Center provides information and tools that school administrators, facility managers, and pest management service providers can use to create a safer learning environment for children. For more information, contact the Center of Expertise for School IPM at school.ipm@epa.gov.

    Throughout the next year, EPA will continue to work towards the goal that all the nation’s children be covered by a verifiable and ongoing school IPM program. For more information on Healthy Schools Day, visit www.nationalhealthyschoolsday.o rg.

    Upcoming Webinar hosted by EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation – Indoor Air Quality: April 8, 2014, 1-2:30 p.m EDT: Be a School IAQ Detective: Using the Walkthrough to Identify and Solve Common IAQ Problems. Register at www.epa.gov/schools/webinars.htm l.

  • On July 23, the EPA Office of Children’s Health Protection is holding a webinar, Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting in Early Care and Education Settings. Child care professionals know how important regular cleaning is for maintaining attractive and healthful conditions in early learning environments. Cleaning has obvious aesthetic benefits. But it also has health benefits since cleaning, along with sanitizing and disinfecting, removes dust, allergens, toxic contaminants and infectious agents.

    What you may not realize is that some cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting products pose significant health and environmental concerns and that some chemicals in these products are associated with eye, skin, and respiratory irritation, as well as other health issues. Concentrated forms of some commercial cleaning products are classified as hazardous, creating potential handling, storage, and disposal issues for users and exposure risk for children and staff.

    Small children are particularly vulnerable to health effects from exposure to chemicals in cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting products because of their size, stage of development and behaviors. But there are easy steps you can take to maintain a clean, sanitary and healthy child care while at the same time reducing exposure to harmful chemicals.

  • On July 25, the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment is offering a free webinar, What is a Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) & How it Can Serve You and Your Constituents. PEHSUs are a FREE health resource on children’s environmental health for the constituents in your region. PEHSU centers are established for each federal region of the United States, providing academic and credible information on environmental health issues. Presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, webinar participants will be provided with an overview of the PEHSU network, our services, examples of patient case studies and ideas for collaboration.

    • Date: Thursday, July 25th, 2013
    • Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
    • Cost: FREE
    • Registration: Required, please register at: http://bit.ly/PEHSUWebinar
    • Who should participate? Public health professionals, environmental health professionals, clinicians, nurses, community organizations, health care professional organizations, child health advocates, and government agencies.

  • On May 16, the EPA Asthma Program is holding a webinar, Collaborating to Control Asthma in Chicago’s Public Housing Using Community Health Workers. Hear from two collaborators, Sinai Urban Health Institute and the Chicago Housing Authority, on their successes and challenges related to:

    • Collaborating with public housing and social service agencies;
    • Employing residents as Community Health Workers;
    • Complying with asthma management plans given competing priorities; and
    • Linking public housing residents to medical services.

    Helping Children Breathe and Thrive (HCBT) is an innovative pilot program between Sinai Urban Health Institute and the Chicago Housing Authority in six Chicago public housing developments. Recruited from the housing properties, Community Health Workers help families of children and adults with asthma by addressing their homes' environmental triggers, connecting them with health and social services, and teaching them asthma self-management skills.

    In a study following the program intervention, HCBT achieved the following results:

    • Participants who experienced more than one Emergency Department visit dropped from 33% to 19%.
    • An 80% reduction in home asthma triggers among program participants


    Melissa Gutierrez Kapheim:
    Epidemiologist, Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Health System
    Andy Teitelman: Deputy Managing Director, Resident Services, Chicago Housing Authority
    Katrin Kral: Facilitator, U.S. EPA

    REGISTER TODAY. For more information contact the EPA Asthma Program.

  • The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs has developed new pesticide safety training materials for use in training farmworkers and their families to prevent pesticide take home exposure. Pesticide take-home exposure occurs when farmworkers take home pesticide residues that may cling to their skin, clothing, hats, boots, tools, lunch coolers, car seats and any other items in the work environment. Their children may then be exposed to these pesticide residues.

    The new training materials, called Project LEAF (Limiting Exposures Around Families), feature the Soto family, a fictional farmworker family who faces the challenge of reducing pesticide exposure in their home. The materials include:
    1. Project LEAF fold-out card (PDF) (2 pp, 624K) - a 2.5” by 2.5” two-sided bilingual (Spanish/English) card in color that covers the key messages of the training. The card conveniently folds to fit into wallets and pockets for quick reference. EPA document number 735F11003
    2. Project LEAF poster (PDF) (1 pg, 738K) - a 17” by 22” color poster. The poster is Spanish on one side and English on the other. It features a large image of the Soto family and key messages for reducing pesticide exposure. It folds to fit into a 9” by 12” envelope for mailing. EPA document number 735H11001
    3. Project LEAF magnet (S panish - PDF) (1 pg, 462K) or (Eng lish - PDF) (1 pg, 462K) - a 4” by 6” color magnet in either Spanish or English. The magnet is designed to be placed on washing machines or refrigerators to reinforce key safety messages, such as, “separate worker clothes from family clothes before washing.” EPA document number 735E11002 (Spanish) or 735E11003 (English)
    4. Project LEAF brochure (Spanish - PDF) (2 pp, 462K) or (English - PDF) (2 pp, 461K) − an 8.5” by 1” color brochure in either Spanish or English. It includes key messages of the LEAF training and features a box next to key messages for checking off when the activity has become part of the household routine. EPA document number 735F11001 (Spanish) or 735F11002 (English)
    5. Project LEAF CD radio messages - a CD with five 1-minute messages in Spanish. The radio public service announcements feature the Soto family discussing how they plan to reduce pesticide exposure in their home. EPA document number 735C11001
    These materials are designed to accompany the Project LEAF flipchart training delivered by AFOP’s trained trainers. To find an AFOP trainer near you who can deliver Project LEAF training for free, please contact Ms. Levy Schroeder, at schroeder@afop.org or (202) 828-6006, extension 130.

    Health care providers or those working in pesticide safety education can receive one free copy of Project LEAF materials by calling the National Service Center for Environmental Publications at (800) 490-9198 and providing the EPA document numbers. Project LEAF PDFs of the brochure, card and poster are downloadable at http://go.usa.gov/28hk.

    To order more than one copy of these materials, please contact Ms. Ashley Nelsen at nelsen.ashley@epa.gov or (703) 347-8889.

    Learn more about AFOP and LEAF.

  • Last Call! – Register Now for the Housing and Health Webinar. EPA is hosting a webinar on Cost-Effective Approaches to Comprehensive Asthma Care. Webinar & Discussion on Housing and Health: A Look at Effective Interventions for People with Asthma

    March 19, 2013
    Webinar: 2 – 3 p.m. EDT. Hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Q&A Session: 3 – 3:30 p.m. EDT in the AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org Discussion Forum

    Cleveland’s HUD-funded Case Healthy Homes & Patients Program (CHHAP) is an innovative community collaboration that achieved significant cost savings and improved outcomes among children with asthma. In this webinar Dr. Dorr Dearborn and Stuart Greenberg will discuss how CHHAP’s successful blend of in-home asthma education and targeted healthy homes remediation led to a 58.6 percent decrease in hospitalizations of children with asthma.

    Attend this webinar to learn about:
    • Essential components that make asthma home visits effective in this healthy homes program model
    • Environmental home interventions with sufficient evidence for implementation
    • Cost and health impact data necessary to demonstrate cost savings
    • An effective collaboration with proven results

    • Dr. Dorr Dearborn, Mary Ann Swetland Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Case Western Reserve University
    • Stuart Greenberg, founder of Environmental Health Watch


  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving to ban the sale of 12 D-Con mouse and rat poison products produced by Reckitt Benckiser Inc. because these products fail to comply with current EPA safety standards. Approximately 10,000 children a year are accidentally exposed to mouse and rat baits; EPA has worked cooperatively with companies to ensure that products are both safe to use around children and effective for consumers. Reckitt Benckiser Inc., maker of D-Con brand products, is the only rodenticide producer that has refused to adopt EPA’s safety standards for all of its consumer use products. For more information, link to the full news release.

  • EPA released “America’s Children and the Environment, Third Edition,” a comprehensive compilation of information from a variety of sources on children’s health and the environment. The report shows trends for contaminants in air, water, food, and soil that may affect children; concentrations of contaminants in the bodies of children and women of child-bearing age; and childhood illnesses and health conditions. The report incorporates revisions to address peer review and public comments on draft materials released in 2011. For more information or to view the report, visit the website.

  • The EPA is releasing its Strategic and Implementation Plan for School Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The plan sets forth the EPA's approach and activities for implementing the School IPM Initiative announced by EPA in 2010. Protecting children’s health is a top priority for the EPA. Children in the United States continue to face risks arising from exposure to pests and pesticides in school settings. IPM is an approach to managing pests that schools can use to reduce pest and pesticide risk for students and staff. The Strategic and Implementation Plans for School IPM demonstrate how the EPA will promote the goal that all of the nation’s children be covered by a verifiable and ongoing school IPM program. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/pe stwise/ipminschools/strategicplan.pdf

  • On May 31, 2012, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Air Division issued the Obama Administration Working to Close Racial, Ethnic Gap on Asthma/Asthma disproportionately affects minority children, children living below poverty level news release. You may view the full news release on the EPA Newsroom, News Release— Air page.

  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5's Air and Radiation Division and Children’s Health Program will be hosting a one-hour webinar on Tribal Children’s/Prenatal Environmental Health on May 8 at 1pm (Central Time). The webinar will address environmental exposures of particular concern to prenatal and child health. Of particular note, this webinar will highlight a Tribal program implemented to include prenatal and pediatric environmental health information and actions in an existing Maternal and Child Health Program.

    Speakers: Edward Master, RN, MPH, US EPA Region 5 - An introduction to children’s unique vulnerability to environmental exposures and how children’s physiological and behavioral differences place them at increased risk from environmental exposures.

    Elizabeth Kushman, MPH, Inter-tribal Council of Michigan - Evaluating a Tribal Maternal and Child Environmental Health Project: Adding Environmental Health to an existing Maternal and Child Health Program.

    You do not need to register for this webinar in advance. Just go to the URL linked below at the time of the webinar. After you go to the URL, you will be prompted to log in. SELECT LOG IN AS A GUEST.

    https://epa.connectso lutions.com/r5_tribal_webinars

    In order to listen to the speakers, you will need to call into the following toll-free conference line

    Conference Number: 877 226-9607
    Participant Code: 5770738038

  • On any normal day, more than 11 million children under the age of 5 are in child care settings where they can spend up to 10 hours per day. Children are more vulnerable than adults to adverse health outcomes related to environmental exposures because of their unique physiology and behaviors yet there are no universal policies or requirements for education on environmental health in child care facilities. The First National Environmental Health Study of Child Care Centers found that around three-quarters of child care centers reportedly using one to ten different pesticides over the course of the year when the study was conducted. Child care center staff estimated the frequency of pesticide use to be from 1 to 107 times annually. Organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides, approved for indoor use, were detected in indoor floor wipe samples, with at least one pesticide residue being measured in all facilities evaluated. Local policies for implementing integrated pest management (IPM) programs in K-12 schools often do not apply to child care settings where children are younger, more vulnerable, and may be at greater risk of exposure to pests and pesticides. An important part of EPA’s Child Care Initiative (http://epa.gov/childcare/) is promoting environmentally sensitive pest management practices through the implementation of IPM programs in child care settings. ( http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/controlling/resources.htm#childcare).

    Please join us at 1:00 – 2:30 EDT on April 24 for a webinar on Integrated Pest Management in Child Care Settings. This webinar will provide information on how to reduce exposures to pests and pesticides by addressing underlying conditions that can lead to infestations rather than relying on pesticides for control of pests such as cockroaches, rodents, ants and flying insects. To reserve your seat, go to: https://www1.gotomeeting. com/register/178245152. Please act now as space is limited!

  • On April 25, 2012 at 1pm EDT ACMT will be hosting a brand new 90-minute webinar on Pesticide Residues in the Indoor Environment: Assessment and Health Effect.

    Developed by ACMT’s own Daniel Sudakin, MD, MPH, FACMT who is an Associate Professor of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR, this webinar has been developed as part of ACMT’s cooperative agreement with ATSDR and its target audience includes health professionals, particularly medical toxicology fellows-in-training, residents, students, and attendings.

    This webinar is free to all attendees and will be broadcast on ACMT’s WebEx Event Center platform. All participants will have the opportunity to watch Dan give his presentation and listen to a live simultaneous audio stream over the computer. Questions can be submitted in real time via the platform's Q&A function.

    Pre-registration is required. Below is a link to sign up for the webinar. Please contact ACMT if you have any questions about this exciting new webinar offering.

    To register for the online event:

    1. Go to https://acmtevents.webex.com/acmtevents/onstage/g.php?d=665586148&t=a&EA =info%40 acmt.net&ET=d848b4d1c7504b342ac23d1dc9b0c645&ETR=da86c1d64ad9a818f055744 9f5dccf0 2&RT=MiM1&p
    2. Click "Register".
    3. On the registration form, enter your information and then click "Submit".

  • SunWise is teaming up with the SHADE Foundation of America to put on the 2012 SunWise with SHADE Poster Contest.

    Students are invited to submit original, creative posters illustrating ways to prevent skin cancer and raise sun safety awareness. Examples of prevention and awareness tips for the posters include:
    • using sunscreen
    • wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses
    • seeking shade when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
    • covering up with full-length clothing to protect one’s skin
    • checking the UV Index
    For more information on the contest visit the EPA SunWise program site.

  • Today, February 27, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released for public comment the K-12 School Environmental Health Program Guidelines for States, Tribes and Territories. In December 2007, Congress enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). Subtitle E, Section 504 of EISA requires the EPA, in consultation with the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services and other relevant federal agencies, to develop voluntary guidelines to assist states in establishing and implementing environmental health programs in K-12 schools.

    Exposure to environmental hazards in schools can negatively impact the health of students and school staff. Unhealthy school environments can affect attendance, concentration and performance. In carrying out this statutory mandate, EPA, with assistance from its federal partners and feedback from stakeholders, developed these draft voluntary State K-12 School Environmental Health Program Guidelines. The guidelines are primarily intended to be used as a resource for the establishment of a state, tribal, or territorial K-12 school environmental health program.

    Your feedback will help in the development of useful guidelines to states, tribes, and territories that will better support healthy school environments for our nation's children. We encourage you to review the draft guidelines and provide comments by April 13, 2012. Please visit the EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection School's website at www.epa.gov/schools to post your comments.

  • EPA is also happy to announce the release of a Request for Applications (RFA) which will provide funding for implementation of the draft voluntary guidelines. Eligibility for funding under this competitive solicitation is limited to states, tribes and territories. Total funding available is expected to be $750,000 and applications for up to $150,000 will be accepted. The closing date for receipt of applications is April 10. For more information, including a copy of the RFA, go to: www.epa.gov/schools/ehguidelines/index.html#rfa.

  • EPA has recently announced the availability of funds through a regional request of applications. Eligible entities will gain funding for projects to conduct demonstrations, trainings, education and/or outreach activities to reduce exposure to indoor air contaminants and yield measurable environmental outcomes primarily in homes and schools. The projects will be carried out at the regional, state or local level within the 10 EPA Regions. For more information, visit the grant application web site.

  • This January, as part of National Radon Action Month, EPA encourages you to test your home for radon and encourage friends, family, and neighbors to test their homes as well. Radon is a leading cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking. The EPA offers information for people to develop a better understanding of these health risks and encourages the American public to Test, Fix, Save a Life.

    The EPA plays an important role in providing guidance for healthy indoor air for families across the country. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air and enters into a home through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Because radon is invisible and odorless, the only way to know if a home, school or other building has an increased level of radon is through testing. Take a moment to visit EPA’s National Radon Action Month website for a list of resources and to learn more about the EPA’s role in promoting healthy indoor air through radon testing.

    Radon: Test, Fix, Save a Life
    • Radon is a natural radioactive gas that you can't see or smell. Nearly 1 in 15 homes have elevated levels.
    • Testing your home is easy and inexpensive. Buy a DIY radon test kit from a hardware store or online, often for under $25 dollars.
    • Fixing your home can save your life and often costs the same as other minor home repairs. When building a new home, consider adding radon-resistant new construction features.
    • Save a life by testing and fixing a radon problem. Over 21,000 Americans die from exposure every year, but this health hazard can be prevented.

    EPA has also partnered with HHS, USDA, DoD, DOE, HUD, DOI, VA, and GSA to launch a Federal Radon Action Plan. For more information about radon testing, please visit http://www.epa.gov/radon/.

  • The California EPA Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is pleased to announce the Children’s Environmental Health Symposium: Emerging Research and Implications for Risk Assessment and Public Policy on January 11 and 12, 2012. The meeting will be held at the Elihu Harris building in Oakland, CA at no charge. The primary audience will be state and federal scientists and academics with interest in children’s environmental health.

    The primary objectives are:
    • To hear presentations of research findings from investigators at the premier children’s environmental health research centers on the west coast;
    • To consider implications of research for assessing risk by OEHHA and other state and federal agencies;
    • To provide opportunities for interaction among the research and government sectors.

    • Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of the California Environmental Protection Agency
    • Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units at UCSF and University of Washington
    • The Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment (CIRCLE) at UC Berkeley
    • The Center for Environmental Public Health at UC Berkeley
    • The Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) l at UC Berkeley
    • The Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE) and Pregnancy Exposures to Environmental Contaminants Children’s Research Center at UCSF
    • The UC Davis Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Medical Investigations of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) Institute
    • The Center for Child Environmental Health Risks Research (CHC) at the University of Washington

    Registration Information

    Special Needs:

    Please send this completed information in an email to: zachekc@obgyn.ucsf.edu

    The deadline to register is January 3, 2012.

    Please see additional information regarding registration, directions, and the draft agenda.

  • EPA Announces Solicitation of Applications for $1 Million in Environmental Justice Grants: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the Agency is seeking applicants for $1 million in environmental justice small grants expected to be awarded in 2012. EPA's environmental justice efforts aim to ensure equal environmental and health protections for all Americans, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. The grants enable non-profit organizations to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in communities overburdened by harmful pollution.

    The 2012 grant solicitation is now open and will close on February 29, 2012. Applicants must be incorporated non-profits or tribal organizations working to educate, empower and enable their communities to understand and address local environmental and public health issues.

    EPA will host four pre-application teleconference calls on December 15, 2011, January 12, 2012, February 1, 2012 and February 15, 2012 to help applicants understand the requirements.

    Environmental justice means the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or income, in the environmental decision-making process. Since 1994, the environmental justice small grants program has provided more than $23 million in funding to community-based nonprofit organizations and local governments working to address environmental justice issues in more than 1,200 communities. The grants represent EPA's commitment to expand the conversation on environmentalism and advance environmental justice in communities across the nation.

    More information on the Environmental Justice Small Grants program and a list of grantees: http://ww w.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/grants/ej-smgrants.html. Environment Justice Small Grants 2012 Request for Proposals and schedule of pre-application teleconference calls: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/resources/publicat ions/grants/ej-smgrants-rfp-2012.pdf .

  • EPA has launched a healthy childcare web-based resource directory. This website was developed with three target audiences in mind: childcare providers, parents, and state and local agencies; the information it contains is arranged to be easily accessible for these three distinct audiences.

    On the web site provides links to a wealth of information (fact sheets, PPTs, trainings, assessment tools, reports, prevention and intervention guidance, etc.) on asthma, chemical hazards, environmental tobacco smoke, green cleaning, indoor air quality, lead, mercury, mold, pesticides and plastics.

  • EPA takes the next step to cancel 20 mouse and rat control products used in homes – an action that will reduce accidental exposure to harmful chemicals. For more information see EPA's news release.

  • In celebration of Children’s Health Month, EPA is highlighting activities that promote healthy school environments. The Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management Program (PA IPM) is collaboration between the PA Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania State University College of Agricultural Sciences. PA IPM offers educational and hands-on training sessions on IPM for diverse audiences in varied environments and settings across Pennsylvania. As a current grantee, EPA Region 3 asked PA IPM to share their thoughts on what parents and caregivers should know in terms of a healthy environment. Please read the article below to learn more about IPM and management of head lice and bedbugs. You may also find the article at PA IPM's website.

    Podcasts with PA IPM will be available after October 26, 2011 (in English and Spanish) at the following website on the right hand side under "Podcasts" section.

  • CPSC Announces New, Lower Limit for Lead Content in Children’s Products. See the full press release.

  • EPA Takes Major Actions to Reduce Americans' Risks from Mouse and Rat Poisons. Move will better protect children, pets and wildlife. See the full press release.

  • Call for nominations: EPA is now accepting nominations for new members to serve on the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee. This committee will serve from December 2011 through December 2013. The deadline for nominations is May 20. For more information, visit the Federal Register notice.

  • May is Asthma Awareness Month. Asthma is a serious, life-threatening respiratory disease that affects over 20 million Americans. Rates of asthma have risen sharply over the past thirty years, particularly among children ages 5 to 14. In response to the growing asthma problem, EPA created a national, multifaceted asthma education and outreach program to share information about environmental factors — found indoors and outdoors — that trigger asthma. Although there is no cure, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental asthma triggers.

  • Our children spend the majority of their waking hours in schools. School Building Week provides an opportunity to draw national attention to the importance of well planned, healthy, high performance, safe and sustainable schools that enhance student achievement and community vitality. As the building blocks of communities throughout the world and the keystone of our future, schools should be sustainable spaces for lifelong learning.

  • National Healthy Schools Day on April 11, is great day for everyone to celebrate and promote healthy and green indoor school environments for all children and staff. For more than five years parents, personnel, advocates, and agencies have held National Healthy Schools Day activities nationwide to highlight the importance of clean indoor air in schools. Visit the National Healthy Schools Day website for more information.

  • Second National Bed Bug Summit: Advancing Towards Solutions to the Bed Bug Problem – A draft agenda is now available for the Second National Bed Bug Summit scheduled for February 1-2, 2011.

    This Summit is being hosted by the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup and will focus on the current status of the bed bug situation and progress since the first summit. During break-out sessions the attendees will discuss and identify knowledge gaps and suggest areas of emphasis to improve control on a community-wide basis. The Summit will conclude with recommendations for developing a national response for bed bugs.

    The National Bed Bug Summit meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center at 3800 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC. Rooms are available at the conference center hotel at a special conference rate of $181.00 per night; reservations must be made by January 17 (ask for "Federal Summit"). For more information, visit the conference website.

    The summit will also be available via webinar. The instructions for signing on to the webinar are available on EPA's website.

  • EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection is pleased to announce the release of a solicitation for grant proposals to address children's environmental health in underserved communities by building capacity for these communities to reduce environmental exposures in child-occupied settings, eg, homes, schools and child care centers. Funds available for award are expected to total approximately $1.5 million, and EPA intends to award approximately 15-20 awards, each for an amount not to exceed $100,000. The due date for initial proposals is February 18, 2011. Assistance under this competition is available to States or state agencies, territories, city or township governments, county governments, the District of Columbia, federally recognized American Indian Tribes, possessions of the U.S, public and private universities and colleges, hospitals, laboratories, other public or private nonprofit institutions, and 501(c)(3) organizations. View the full Notice of Funding Availability.

  • EPA Releases New Draft Voluntary Guidelines for Selecting Safe School Locations and EPA provides new tools for communities making school siting decisions. See the full news release.

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded two Pesticide Registration Improvement Renewal Act grants totaling nearly $500,000 for projects that use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approaches to reduce pesticide risk. See more.

  • New EPA Publication on Web Entitled Protecting Children’s Health: The National Pesticide Program - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) has published a new document entitled Protecting Children’s Health: The National Pesticide Program. This document provides an overview of OPP’s comprehensive activities to protect children from pesticide risks and discusses efforts to expand that protection.

    The mission of OPP is to protect human health and the environment from potential risks associated with pesticide use. When used properly, pesticides can help control disease-causing organisms and foster a safe and abundant food supply. It is OPP’s goal to ensure that pesticides marketed in the United States are sold, distributed, and used in a way that is protective of people’s health, particularly vulnerable populations like children. This requires that the Office use the best available science when reaching regulatory decisions, find ways to communicate those decisions effectively, develop educational and training opportunities to help pesticide users make informed choices, and ensure proper implementation of pesticide statutes.

    OPP has established a strong foundation of activities, procedures, and policies that protect children from potential pesticide risks. The Office is building on that foundation by developing additional initiatives that expand current activities and address gaps and deficiencies. Protecting Children’s Health: The National Pesticide Program outlines the multiple ways that children may be exposed to pesticides and details how the national pesticide program is working to address potential pesticide risk in a number of core programmatic components.

    This document is available at http://www.e pa.gov/pesticides/health/protecting-children.pdf.

    In celebration of Children's Health Month, other EPA publications highlighting the importance of protecting children from environmental risks are available at http://yosem ite.epa.gov/ochp/ochpweb.nsf/content/chm2010.htm.

  • On February 4, 2010, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson issued a memo reaffirming the importance of children's environmental health at EPA, entitled "EPA’s Leadership in Children’s Environmental Health."

  • EPA announces the launch of a Pesticide Database to aid consumers in controlling bed bugs. View the news release.

  • Children’s Environmental Health Network announces the launch of the first-ever national eco-healthy child care program to protect children in child care. View the news release.

  • In conjunction with National Poison Prevention Week, EPA issued a news release reminding parents of the importance of keeping pesticides and household chemicals out of the reach of children. View the EPA News Release.

  • The EPA is sponsoring an environmental justice video contest that challenges amateur and professional filmmakers to create videos that capture the faces of the environmental justice movement. The Faces of the Grassroots contest is an opportunity to publicly exhibit creativity, environmental justice stories, and connect with others working to raise awareness of the movement. Learn more about the contest.

  • In 2007, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded over $500,000 in federal grant funds to five state and non-profit organizations in Ohio, Michigan, Oregon, Florida, and Texas to provide educational opportunities for health care providers and women of child-bearing age about important environmental health risks. The grants focused on environmental health issues that include exposure to mercury, lead, environmental tobacco smoke, chemicals, pesticides, drinking water contaminants, and indoor and outdoor air contaminants. Two of the five grantees, the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan and the Ohio Department of Health, have completed their projects and have issued their final reports. The remaining grantees will complete their projects in the spring and early next year. Learn more about these projects and view the final reports for Michigan and Ohio.

  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued new advice for parents concerning the high levels of lead and other metals that are found in children’s jewelry. Read the CPSC Chairman’s statement.

  • EPA has released a user-friendly document to help risk assessors understand how children are exposed to pollution. The document, "Highlights of the Child-Specific Exposure Factors Handbook," is a quick-reference guide to the more comprehensive "Child-Specific Exposure Factors Handbook," published by EPA in 2008. Read the press release or review the new document.

  • As part of a settlement for clean air violations, school bus operator First Student will commit to reduce idling from its nationwide fleet of 50,000 school buses. This nationwide effort will reduce school children's exposure to diesel pollution and help clean the nation's air. Learn more about diesel exhaust and anti-idling guidelines.

  • EPA has launched a new Web page containing information on the effectiveness of skin-applied insect repellents that will help Americans select the right product for their needs and protect themselves and their children from potentially devastating diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease. Learn about the effectiveness of insect repellents.

  • K-8 students can help raise awareness about sun safety and win prizes by entering the 2010 SunWise with SHADE contest. The annual contest is a joint effort by the SHADE Foundation of America, Weather-Bug Schools and EPA to teach children ways to protect their skin and eyes from excessive sun exposure. The contest due date is April 7, 2010. Learn more about the contest Exit Disclaimer.

  • EPA invites the public to submit creative videos for a Lead Poisoning Prevention Video Contest. The contest is being jointly sponsored by EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Learn more about the contest.

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance on day and residential camps in response to human infections with the Novel Influenza A (H1N1) virus. CDC recommends the primary means to reduce spread of influenza in camps focus on early identification of ill campers and staff, staying home when ill, good cough and hand hygiene etiquette, and environmental controls that encourage use of these hygiene practices. Review the guidance.

  • EPA’s new Water Quality Video Contest is looking for videos that will educate the public about problems facing our nation's waters and will inspire people to change behavior to improve and protect our water resources. Entries are due on Earth Day, April 22, 2009.

  • On February 26, 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama visited EPA. View a video of her remarks.

  • In February 2009, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry developed a report entitled, "Children's Exposure to Elemental Mercury: A National Review of Exposure Events." The report identifies the common sources of elemental mercury exposure in children and describes the location, demographics, and proportion of children exposed or potentially exposed to elemental mercury in the United States.

  • To honor Rachel Carson, the EPA, Generations United, and the Rachel Carson Council, Inc., are sponsoring the Second Annual Rachel Carson Intergenerational photo, essay, and poetry contest "that best expresses the Sense of Wonder that you feel for the sea, the night sky, forests, birds, wildlife, and all that is beautiful to your eyes." Learn more about the contest.

  • The Endocrine Disruption Exchange launched Critical Windows of Development Exit Disclaimer, in February 2009. The Web site plots on bar graphs fetal development against studies that show the hormone, or endocrine, disrupting effects of bisphenol-A, phthalates, and dioxin in rats and mice.

  • Students in kindergarten through eighth grade are encouraged to participate in the annual SunWise with SHADE Poster Contest for great state and national prizes. Entries are due on April 13, 2009, and should be original, creative, show ways to prevent skin cancer, raise sun safety awareness and be attached to an official entry form. Learn more about the poster contest.

  • In response to many inquiries on the topic, the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units developed a melamine factsheet (PDF) (4pp, 122K) for clinicians and other health professionals.

  • Maryland has just released The Maryland Children's Environmental Health Report, their first statewide assessment of children's environmental health. This report provides a comprehensive look at the relationship between the state’s environment and the health of its children. Governor O'Malley stated that the "report (will) better help us understand and develop solutions to the adverse impact the environment has on children's health." The report will support the cataloging and presentation of data on children’s environmental health that can be used by the public and policy makers to set priorities and measure progress. Maryland is taking steps to implement the recommendations in the report. The Maryland report was modeled after EPA's national-scale report, America's Children and the Environment. This enabled Maryland to make comparison with National level indicators. EPA provided technical support and expert review for the Maryland report. The full report is available under “DHMH Reports” at: www.dhmh.state.md.us Exit Disclaimer

  • Grants totaling nearly $1 million have been awarded for projects that use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approaches to reduce pesticide risk. The grants will support the demonstration of innovative IPM practices, technologies, outreach and education. IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. In selecting grant awards, EPA emphasized projects that address:
    1. alternatives to soil fumigants and azinphos methyl, a pesticide used on orchard fruit, nuts and other crops
    2. IPM strategies for watersheds with pesticides in surface waters
    3. IPM in schools, daycare, and hospitals
    4. adoption of biopesticides or reduced-risk pesticides
    5. methods for measuring IPM adoption or the reduction of risksassociated with pesticide 1 use
    6. business cases for implementing IPM
    The funding for these grants was authorized by the Pesticide Registration Improvement Renewal Act.

  • To honor Child Health Day, OCHPEE launched a campaign to educate middle and high school students about climate change, its effects on children's health, and actions teens can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become Climate Ambassadors in their communities. View the Climate for Action Web site or review the EPA news release.

  • The International Network on Children's Health, Environment and Safety (INCHES) has organized a film competition as part of its 10th Anniversary. It's a one time event and will be held during the months of September 2008 until September 2009. The competition, called "Focus on Children in a Healthy Environment" and centered on the themes "Climate" and "Environmental Health" will run until September 1, 2009 and is open to all nationalities and ages. A Grand Prize will be awarded to the winners of the different categories. There are also separate cash prizes for films up to 5 minutes of duration and up to 15 minutes. View the rules and regulations for the competition (PDF) (4 pp, 44K).

  • The Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign (SC3) has developed a 9-minute Green Scene webcast that examines the critical need for responsible chemical management in K-12 schools from the chemistry lab to the custodial closet. It encourages schools and community partners to protect students and school staff by taking steps to prevent accidents involving outdated, unknown, and unneeded chemicals. Visit the Green Scene Web site to view the SC3 webcast.

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Update on Dental Amalgams: According to the FDA, "Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetus. Pregnant women and persons who may have a health condition that makes them more sensitive to mercury exposure, including individuals with existing high levels of mercury bioburden, should not avoid seeking dental care, but should discuss options with their health practitioner." Learn more about FDA’s revised consumer guidance on amalgams.

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Disaster-Related Environmental Health News

Wildfire-Related Environmental Health News:

Hurricane Katrina-Related Environmental Health News:

  • Questions and answers about children’s health and hurricane and flood disasters (from EPA)

  • EPA is urging residents returning to hurricane-affected areas especially to protect children from hazards left behind by storms. Information for parents and caregivers is available on a variety topics, for example, safe water, asthma, contaminated toys, and others. View a news release and questions and answers about protecting children's health after hurricanes and flood disasters.

  • EPA has developed informational flyers on possible environmental and health issues - including carbon monoxide poisoning, mold, and drinking water - for residents returning to hurricane impacted areas. View the informational flyers.

  • On October 7, 2005, the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a joint statement detailing clinician recommendations regarding the return of children to areas impacted by flooding and or hurricanes. The recommendations also apply to pregnant women.

  • Health professionals can contact Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs), a national network of clinics, for free clinical advice by phone about potential pediatric environmental health concerns affecting both the child and the family. To learn more, visit: http://www.aoec.org/PEHSU.htm Exit 

  • Cleanup activities related to returning to homes and businesses after Hurricane Katrina can pose significant health and environmental challenges. People may be exposed to potentially life-threatening hazards posed by leaking natural gas lines, and carbon monoxide poisoning from using un-vented fuel-burning equipment indoors. During a flood cleanup, failure to remove contaminated materials and to reduce moisture and humidity may present serious long-term health risks from micro-organisms, such as bacteria and mold. View EPA’s September 14, 2005 news release regarding precautions you can take to protect yourself and your children from potential environmental hazards resulting from flooding.

  • On September 13, 2005, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned of new dangers among Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina from deadly CO poisonings. Read important new safety tips for residents able to return home after the hurricane Exit 


  • On September 11, 2005, EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality posted data from New Orleans flood water chemical samples collected from six locations on September 3. Chemical results indicate that the concentration of lead exceeded EPA drinking water action levels. These levels are of a concern if a child ingests large amounts of the flood water. Based on the chemical analyses and the presence of high levels of E. coli, EPA and CDC provided health guidance on September 7 to avoid human contact with the flood water when possible. EPA in coordination with federal, state and local agencies will continue to release data as it becomes available. View the test results or visit EPA’s Hurricane Katrina response Web page at www.epa.gov/katrina.

  • The National Library of Medicine has compiled a new Hurricane Katrina Web page Exit 

Disclaimer on toxic chemical and environmental health information resources for health workers and the interested public. Links are provided to information on chemicals that may be released as a result of the Katrina disaster and on environmental health concerns following the wind and flood damage.

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