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EPA Awards Grants to Help Reduce Environmental Risks to Pregnant Women

Release Date: 01/30/2008
Contact Information: Shakeba Carter-Jenkins, (202) 564-4355 / carter-jenkins.shakeba@epa.gov; En español: Lina Younes, (202) 564-4355 / younes.lina@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - Jan. 30, 2008) Five states and non-profit organizations in Ohio, Michigan, Oregon, Florida, and Texas were recently awarded more than $500,000 in federal grant funds to educate health care providers and women of child-bearing age on environmental health risks. The EPA grants will focus on environmental health issues that include exposure to mercury, lead, environmental tobacco smoke, chemicals, pesticides, drinking water contaminants, and indoor and outdoor air contaminants.

"We're giving pregnant women information on how to avoid exposure to certain environmental hazards to give children a healthy start to life," said Dona Deleon, acting director, Office of Children's Health Protection and Environmental Education. "These grants help the public health community reach women during this important time in their lives."

Pregnancy is a time for joy and celebration, but it is also a time to be especially careful about the environment in which one works and lives. There is a relationship between a mother's environment and the health of her developing fetus. Various behaviors and experiences are associated with adverse health outcomes for both the mother and infant. These experiences can occur before, during and after pregnancy.

The grants are projected to reach approximately 3,000 health care providers and 10,000 women of child-bearing age.

EPA is awarding the following grants:

  • The Duval County Health Department, Jacksonville, Fla., received $100,000 to develop health care provider training, assessment tools, and consumer education materials on environmental health risks.
  • The Ohio Department of Health, Columbus, Ohio, received $97,204 to increase health care provider awareness through the development of provider assessment tools and an all-inclusive patient screening tool for environmental home risks.
  • The Michigan Inter-Tribal Council, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., received $117,747 to develop health care provider training for Healthy Start Program Maternal and Child Health home visiting staff at seven tribal Healthy Start project sites on environmental health assessment and education, and to provide community-wide education on environmental health risks to their prenatal patients.
  • The South Central Area Health Education Center, San Antonio, Texas, received $98,115 to develop health care provider training in five South Texas clinics and to develop patient education materials on environmental health risks.
  • The Oregon Department of Human Services, Portland, Ore., received $100,000 to develop education and assessment tools for public health nurses and their prenatal patients on environmental health risks.

More information: http://yosemite.epa.gov/ochp/ochpweb.nsf/content/prenatalgrants.htm