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Your Health – Your Environment Blog

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.


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


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


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.


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..

Swimming This Summer? Use Pool Chemicals with Care

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

Pool water testSummer is here, and that means it’s time for fun outdoor activities like swimming in your backyard or neighborhood pool. Or you may have the chance to enjoy a big, luxurious pool or an exciting waterpark while on vacation.

If you own a pool, you know all too well how much work goes into keeping it clean and safe. If you don’t, you may not think much about that process; in fact, you may take it for granted. Pool upkeep requires chemicals to keep the water clean and protect against disease, including bromine- and chlorine-based disinfectants and chemicals that adjust pH. Not only pool owners and operators, but also many others are part of the process of manufacturing, transporting, storing, selling, using and disposing of these potentially hazardous chemicals.

Protect Yourself From Wildfires

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

Dry conditions in parts of the United States increase the potential for wildfires in or near wilderness areas. Stay alert for wildfire warnings and take action to protect yourself and your family from wildfire smoke.

When wildfires burn in your area, they produce smoke that may reach your community. Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.

NCEH Observes “World Environment Day”

Categories: Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, International Environmental Health, National Center for Environmental Health, Sharing Our Stories

World Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5 to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth. It is run by the United Nations Environment Programme. Read the story below about the effects climate change on Pacific Islanders:

Photojournalism Focuses on Climate Change in Pacific Islands

Climate change is any significant variation in temperature, precipitation, wind, or other type of weather that lasts for decades or longer.

Pristine waters, lush vegetation, picturesque landscapes, remote location….. This sounds like the stuff of travel guides—words that conjure up images of a vacationer’s paradise. But these alluring descriptors aren’t about “Fantasy Island.” Think Pacific Islands—the focus of a unique NCEH photojournalism project studying the effects of climate change. The project focused on the Republic of Palau and aimed to raise global awareness of the public health effects of climate change on all Pacific Islanders.

The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season: It’s here!

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

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and runs through November 30. It’s time to get ready!

Hurricane Season

The 2012 hurricane season was the second consecutive year that a named storm devastated the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Both Irene (2011) and Sandy (2012) caused fatalities, injuries, and tremendous destruction from coastal storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, and wind.

Although the 2013 season was well below average overall, hurricanes have been more frequent and intense during the last 18 years and are affecting more locations.

Coming Out of the Toxic Clouds

Categories: Biomonitoring, Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health

May 31, 2014 is World No Tobacco Day. Read about how NCEH’s Tobacco Laboratory measures toxic and addictive substances in tobacco smoke.


Work in NCEH’s Tobacco Laboratory helps reduce exposure to secondhand smoke

If you saw a cloud of smoke that you knew contained more than 4,000 chemical components, of which at least 250 caused cancer, then you’d run for cover and seek cleaner air. This is the case each time you’re near someone who smokes a cigarette, cigar, or pipe.

Exposure to secondhand smoke causes 3,400 deaths a year due to lung cancer. The toxic cloud also has immediate effects on your cardiovascular system and can cause heart attack and stroke.

Celebrating 20 years of Executive Order 12898: How far have we come and how do we create an impact in the next 20 years?

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

President Clinton
Guest post by LaToria Whitehead, PhD, Environmental Justice Officer
National Center for Environmental Health
Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services

February 11, 2014, marked the 20-year anniversary of former President Bill Clinton signing Executive Order 12898, a charge to all federal agencies to address disparate environmental and human health conditions in minority and low-income communities,

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