Tricounty News

Environmental Health Week May 5-11

Governor Mark Dayton has declared the week of May 5-11 to be Environment Health Week. This is to honor environmental health specialists who work to protect the public from harmful conditions in their environments. Environmental health concerns include:

¥ Air quality, both outdoors and indoors, including environmental tobacco smoke.

¥ Body art safety, including tattooing, body piercing, and permanent cosmetics.

¥ Climate change and its effects on health.

¥ Disaster preparedness and response.

¥ Food safety from farm to fork: agriculture, transportation, processing, sales, and service.

¥ Hazardous materials management, including proper disposal and clean up.

¥ Housing, including substandard housing abatement and inspection of jails and prisons.

¥ Childhood lead poisoning prevention.

¥ Land-use planning, including smart growth and sustainability.

¥ Medical waste management and disposal.

¥ Noise-pollution control.

¥ Radiological safety from ionizing radiation from X-rays and radioactive isotopes.

¥ Recreational water: illness and injury prevention at swimming pools, spas, and beaches.

¥ Safe drinking water.

¥ Toxic chemicals in consumer products, housing, workplaces, air, water, and soil.

¥ Vector control for insects, rodents, and other animals that spread disease.

¥ Wastewater disposal, both municipal sewage plants and household septic tanks.

Many environmental health specialists are employed by city, county, and state governments to inspect restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, resorts, and public swimming pools for conditions that can cause illness or injury. They also work to ensure proper disposal of garbage and hazardous waste; proper construction of well and septic systems; and clean-up of public health nuisances such as garbage houses.

"Environmental Health Week recognizes the importance of the services provided by environmental health professionals," the proclamation states. "The women and men who serve in the environmental health field in Minnesota are experienced and dedicated public health professionals who contribute to improving the quality of life for Minnesota residents and guests."

The Minnesota Environmental Health Association (MEHA) is an association of professionals in government and industry who work to protect the public from unsafe food, water, air, and built environments. Formed in 1961, MEHA has more than 300 members throughout Minnesota.