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A blog to increase public knowledge about environmental health by sharing our concerns and our work as well as information you can use in your daily life.

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Voices from the Field: Hydrogen Sulfide in Detroit

Categories: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Toxic Substances, Voices from the Field

Mark Jason

Mark Johnson is ATSDR’s Region 5 director in Chicago, Illinois. Read about how he helped stop harmful hydrogen sulfide exposures in Detroit, Michigan.

Air Samples Catch Harmful Levels of Hydrogen Sulfide at the Detroit Water Treatment Plant

Hydrogen sulfide is a flammable, colorless gas that smells like rotten eggs. Exposure to hydrogen sulfide is a potential health concern, even for short periods. In 2012, the EPA-Region 5 Air Enforcement program notified ATSDR that air samples near the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant showed readings as high as 12,000 parts per billion (ppb). Since the Acute Minimal Risk Level for hydrogen sulfide was 70 ppb, Johnson knew something had to be done.

New ATSDR Brownfield and Land Reuse Site Tools Now Available

Categories: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Health Investigations, Toxic Substances

Land-Reuse-Before-and-After

Example of land reuse, photo courtesy of ATSDR.

NCEH/ATSDR works to keep you safe and secure from things in the environment that threaten the public’s health. Read on to learn more about how the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) protects communities from harmful exposures at hazardous waste sites.

Is there a vacant lot in your neighborhood that’s an eyesore? Do you wonder what the site was before? Could it have been a gas station or dry cleaner? Are there harmful contaminants that you or others in your community could be exposed to? Finding out the answers to these questions is now much easier!

ATSDR Introduces New Resources

In its ongoing effort to protect people from potentially harmful exposures at hazardous waste sites, ATSDR offers two free tools: the ATSDR Dose Calculator and ATSDR Brownfields and Land Reuse Site Tool.

With these new resources, you can quickly see the risks of chemical exposures at potentially hazardous sites. “ATSDR developed these tools after a survey of local health departments

GRASP Propels Polio Vaccination by Locating Remote Nigerian Villages

Categories: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), International Environmental Health, National Center for Environmental Health

GRASP Vaccines

Thanks to nationwide immunization, by 1979 the United States had effectively eliminated polio, a crippling and sometimes fatal disease. However, in much of the world, polio continued to spread. Polio is incurable and contagious, so widespread and thorough vaccination is the only way to eradicate it completely.

In 1988, national governments organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health organizations formed the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to eliminate polio worldwide by providing access to vaccinations. By 2006, polio had been contained to only four nations.

Meet the Scientist – Jennifer Lyke

Categories: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Health Investigations, Meet the Scientist Blog Series

The NCEH/ATSDR “Meet the Scientist” series provides insight into the work the talented people who are working to keep you safe and secure from things in the environment that threaten our nation’s health

ATSDR Region Six Representative, Jennifer Lyke. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lyke.

ATSDR Region Six Representative, Jennifer Lyke. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lyke.

For three decades, scientists at CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have kept America safe from hazards in the environment. For example, scientists at ATSDR have worked in more than 900 communities across the nation to assess and explain the health risks involved in exposures to hazardous substances and to educate communities so they can keep families safe. Read on to learn more about ATSDR Region Six Representative Jennifer Lyke. She has received multiple awards for her regional work, including an ATSDR Leadership in Public Health award in 2005 and an EPA National Achievement Award (Bronze medal) in 2009.

Meet the Scientist: Xiaoyun “Sherry” Ye

Categories: Meet the Scientist Blog Series, National Center for Environmental Health, Toxic Substances

DLS Scientist, Xiaoyun “Sherry” Ye.  Photo courtesy of Sherry Ye.

DLS Scientist, Xiaoyun “Sherry” Ye. Photo courtesy of Sherry Ye.

The NCEH/ATSDR “Meet the Scientist” series provides insight into the work of NCEH/ATSDR scientists. The series also aims to give you a sense of the talented people who are working to keep you safe and secure from things in the environment that threaten our nation’s health.

Meet Xiaoyun “Sherry” Ye, winner of NCEH/ATSDR Excellence in Applied Research and Excellence in Public Health Protection awards. Sherry’s an NCEH/ATSDR Division of Laboratory Sciences (DLS) scientist who helps keep you and your family safe from BPAs.

When the Lights Go Out

Categories: Emergency Preparedness, Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Severe Weather

Protect yourself from CO poisoning during summer storms

lightning

Summer weather brings with it the threat of thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Heavy rain, lightning and high winds can knock out electric power for a few minutes to several days.

When power outages occur after severe weather (such as hurricanes or tornadoes), using alternative sources of power can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in a home and poison the people and animals inside.

The Multi-Shaped, Multi-Length, Multi-Characteristic Kitchen Invader

Categories: Emergency and Environmental Health Services, National Center for Environmental Health

To help keep pests out restaurants, get rid of leftover food and drain standing water.

To help keep pests out restaurants, get rid of leftover food and drain standing water.

They’re smelly, disease-carrying nuisances that can ruin structures and get into your food. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the varieties that are around one-eighth of an inch to those that can grow to about 18 inches.
They crawl, fly, jump, leap, or slither around to find what they need to survive. Some have fur and some are hairless. Some have tails, others don’t. Any guess as to the identity of these kitchen invaders?

They are pests, including rats and other rodents, roaches, flies, spiders, and ants. And pests have no place in a kitchen—they can carry and transmit diseases to animals and people. When it comes to restaurants, cafeterias, and other places where food is served to the masses, pests can affect the health of millions of people.

Community Health Education & Outreach in Texas

Categories: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Health Investigations, National Center for Environmental Health

ATSDR’s Division of Community Health Investigations

fishing

If you like eating crab, finding and digging out the tender, flavorful meat can be hard work that may be worth the effort. But getting to the crabmeat is not the only problem with eating crab; crab and other seafood with high fat content are very susceptible to contamination from polluted water and sediment.

Eating crabs, fish, and other types of seafood can expose you to toxic substances known to cause cancer and other diseases.

Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather

Categories: Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Severe Weather

Couple

Although summer officially began less than two weeks ago, many parts of our nation already have experienced very hot weather. And in some areas, those temperatures will continue into October. Most of us can’t spend three or four months in air-conditioned comfort, nor would we want to. If you want to work and play outdoors during the summer, you need to learn how to protect yourself in extreme heat.

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

Categories: Emergency Preparedness, National Center for Environmental Health, Severe Weather

June 22-28 is National Lightning Safety Week. Lightning strikes may be dangerous, but you can protect yourself from risk even if you are caught outdoors when lightning is close by.

LIGHTNING

The weather forecast calls for a slight chance of thunderstorms, but you can only see a few fluffy white clouds overhead. So you and your tennis partner grab your racquets and balls and head for the tennis court. You spend a few minutes warming up and then—wait! Is that thunder you hear? Was that a lightning flash?

What do you do? Keep playing until the thunder and lightning get closer? Go sit on the metal bench under the trees to see what happens? Or get in your car and drive home?

Correct answer: If no substantial, non-concrete shelter is nearby, get in your car and wait out the storm..

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