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Proposed Children's Environmental Health Program General Issues

All programs designed to help eliminate potential environmental hazards for children must include a number of preventative programs. They are:

  • 1. Appropriate health education experiences for female and male high school students concerning the potential disastrous effects of environmental hazards and the special needs of women prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy, and after pregnancy.
  • 2. Proper prenatal care from physicians, nurses, and public health clinics.
  • 3. Use of women’s, infant’s and children’s programs, where appropriate to obtain appropriate nutrition and other services as needed.
  • 4. Reduction of environmental pollutants in the air, water, and soil, to bring levels of hazards down to the quantities that children can be exposed to, without present and future damage or disease.
  • 5. Appropriate training of pediatricians, nurses, and other medical professionals to recognize the symptoms of diseases and conditions related to environmental contaminants and microorganisms.
  • 6. Provision of health education materials to school children and parents concerning specific environmental health issues and how to correct them.
  • 7. Provision of health education materials to school officials, nursery schools, preschools, and other institutions where children spend part of their day. Specific environmental hazards should be identified and specific preventive/corrective actions should be taken.
  • 8. Self-inspection programs and self-inspection forms should be introduced into the preschool and school environments. Specialized training should be given to administrative, maintenance, and housekeeping personnel.
  • 9. Special training for recreational personnel to help them reduce the levels of injuries and possible health hazards from dangerous situations, poor equipment, and potential environmental situations.
  • 10. Special training for individuals in agricultural settings to help them understand the potential health hazards from agricultural chemicals and injuries due to equipment and the surrounding environment.
  • 11. Elimination of environmental tobacco smoke (secondhand smoke) in all homes and other buildings.
  • 12. Rapid phasing out of hazardous waste sites, especially those close to housing and schools.
  • 13. Reduction of air pollutants especially from sources close to schools and housing and affecting them.
  • 14. Establishing National Ambient Air Quality Standards which are applicable to children. Content of Educational Programs

The content of educational materials must address problems and suggested solutions to environmental health concerns that affect children. These concerns are as follows:

  • 1. Secondhand smoke—Smoke away from children in the out of doors.
  • 2. Contaminants brought inside from out of doors, such as lawn chemicals, lead dust, and other chemicals found in the air, water, or naturally occurring in the soil—Use a doormat and leave the shoes at the door.
  • 3. Drift from chemical applications especially in agricultural areas—Close windows at least 30 minutes before chemical treatment and then reopen 30 minutes after completion of spraying.
  • 4. Gasoline and kerosene fumes—Store equipment in outside sheds or garages and keep gasoline and kerosene in proper storage containers.
  • 5. Chemicals and smoke from backyard burning—All wastes need to be removed to the proper disposal sites and backyard burning is never permissible.
  • 6. Breathing in chemicals from paints, wood finishing products, cleaning products, new carpets, building materials, glues and solvents, from the home, garage, or workshop—Air out all areas where the previous substances have been used prior to the time that children come into that environment.
  • 7. Contaminants in water or on food either bacterial or chemical—Wash all foods before processing and then consuming, and only use water which has been treated.
  • 8. Toys and surfaces contaminated with chemical dusts and residues—Clean all toys and surfaces using a wet cleaning technique.
  • 9. Contamination of hands of small children with chemicals or microorganisms—Wash hands carefully with soap and water and then rinse thoroughly.
  • 10. Potential for poisoning by a variety of household substances—Lock all household cleaners, pesticides, and other chemicals in cabinets which are not accessible to children.
  • 11. Discussion and demonstration of asthma triggers and techniques utilized to eliminate them.
  • 12. Discussion of the effects of ultraviolet rays on children and the potential for cancer in the future.
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