Welcome back to the Pulse on Public Health. This week we are highlighting our Environmental Health team. Our Environmental Health team is comprised of two Environmental Health Specialists. Environmental health is a branch of public health that focuses on the relationships between people and their environment, promoting human health and well-being, and supporting safe communities for Walworth County residents and visitors.
Understanding how much disease and illness is attributed to modifiable environmental risks is one of the greatest ways to understand the importance of environmental health. Globally, more than 12 million people around the world die each year because they live or work in unhealthy environments. Environmental health intervenes by reducing people’s exposure to harmful pollutants in air, water, soil, food and materials in homes and workplaces. Supporting environmental health is beneficial both for individuals and for their surrounding communities. Some of the benefits include cleaner air quality, healthy drinking water, and safer outdoor environments for adults and children.
Our Environmental Health team works on many projects to contribute to safe and healthy environments at both a community and individual level. At a community level, the team completes tick drags to monitor the density & types of ticks found in local parks to prevent vector-borne diseases. They ensure our lakes are safe for swimming by testing the water at local beaches and ponds. You may have even seen our team out in the community at your favorite local establishments to make sure that the water there is safe for you.
At an individual level, they test private well water for bacteria, nitrate, arsenic, and lead to ensure it is safe to enjoy. They also encourage residents to have their homes tested for radon. Additionally, our team works hand in hand with our nursing staff to intervene when children test high for blood lead levels. They provide families with resources and options to reduce lead levels in the environments that they live, work, play, and rest in.
Right now, our Environmental health team is working hard to promote testing homes for radon. January is National Radon Action Month, an annual observance highlighting the importance of this public health issue. Radon is a colorless, tasteless, odorless, radioactive gas. It occurs naturally in the Earth and is the leading cause of lung cancer in people who do not smoke. Radon testing should be done in your home every two years, even if initial tests are below 4 pCi/L.
Radon test kits are available for pick up at Walworth County Health and Human Services through January 31, 2023. They are being sold at a discounted price of $5.00* for the month of January in observance to Radon Action Month. *Radon test kits are $5.00 with the donation of a non-perishable food item. All donations will be gifted to the Walworth County Food and Diaper Bank. All radon test kits must be purchased with cash or check.
To learn more about Environmental Health, visit https://www.co.walworth.wi.us/424/Environmental-Health
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This content is free for use with credit to the Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health and a link back to the original post.