The EPA Blog The EPA Blog Fri, 13 May 2016 19:19:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 This Week in EPA Science Fri, 13 May 2016 19:19:02 +0000 By Kacey Fitzpatrickresearch_recap_250

Rain got you stuck inside all weekend? Well here’s something to pass the time until those May flowers finally show up. Check out the latest in EPA science.

EPA’s P3 Student Design Competition
Did you miss our P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) student design competition at this year’s USA National Science & Engineering Festival? Well don’t worry—EPA’s Christina Burchette recapped the event and some of the innovative projects on display in her blog EPA’s P3 Student Design Competition: Where Science and Creative Genius Meet.

Supporting the Next Generation of Scientists
EPA announced the winner of its Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability Award today at the Intel International Science & Engineering festival. High School Student Alexis D’Alessandro was honored with the award for her project that is providing clean drinking water affordably to a community in Kenya. Learn more in this press release.

EPA Researchers at Work
Meet EPA Ecologist Steve Paulsen! Steve works on National Aquatic Resource Surveys –a collaborative program designed to assess the quality of the nation’s coastal waters, lakes and reservoirs, rivers and streams, and wetlands. Read his profile to learn why he thinks of his science as a combination of accounting and exploration.

Meet EPA IT Specialist Linda Harwell! Linda’s love for the ocean started at a very early age. As a Navy brat, Linda moved around a lot but she never lived far from a coast. Even now, working at EPA’s research laboratory in Gulf Breeze, Linda gets to see the ocean right outside her office every day.

Learn more about what it’s like to be a scientist at EPA in our Researchers at Work profiles.

Upcoming Events
Need more science? Here are some public meetings and webinars EPA is hosting this month.

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a student contractor and writer working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. She is a regular contributor to It All Starts with Science and the founding writer of “The Research Recap.”

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Prevent Yellow Jackets before They Cause Problems at Your School Thu, 12 May 2016 17:18:50 +0000 Yellow jacket season is upon us.

Yellow jacket season is upon us.

By Marcia Anderson

Along with the azaleas, dogwoods and spring bulbs, yellow jackets have also awakened – just in time for playground and BBQ season. Yellow jackets, wasps and hornets are beneficial insects, but they can be a health hazard due to the reactions that some people have to their painful stings.

Early Action Prevents Later Trouble: You can often avoid severe yellow jacket problems by eliminating workers and nests in late spring and early summer when yellow jacket workers are few and their nests are still small.

If there is a chronic problem with yellow jackets around your school or community playgrounds, picnic areas or fields, inspect the area to locate the nests. Nests can be found in the ground, under eaves and in wall voids of buildings. Ground nests are frequently located under shrubs, logs, rock piles and other protected sites. Entrance holes sometimes have bare earth around them. Nest openings in the ground or in buildings can be recognized by observing the insects entering and leaving. Yellow jacket nests can also be found in fence posts, play equipment and picnic table supports with unsealed openings.

The environmentally preferable way to reduce stinging insects is to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques. IPM is an effective, environmentally sensitive and sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks. Yellow jacket and other stinging insect presence can be significantly reduced when IPM procedures are implemented.

Fence post with hole

Fence posts and hollow rails surrounding playgrounds are common places for yellow jacket nests.

Prevention and Habitat Modification: Given the potential seriousness of stings, the objective of yellow jacket management is to reduce encounters by eliminating their prime foraging habitats through good sanitation practices and awareness. The most effective ways to manage yellow jackets are to reduce their access to food in the vicinity of human activities, and to use physical controls such as nest removal and trapping.

Reduce access to food: Later in the season, yellow jackets are attracted to protein foods. Any food left outdoors, open garbage containers or uncovered compost piles should be removed or covered. Wasps imprint food sources, and will continue to search an area for some time after the food has been removed. All refuse containers should periodically be cleaned of food wastes and should be emptied frequently to prevent the contents from impeding the closure of the lid. Garbage cans should have lids and dumpsters should have vertical spring-loaded swinging doors.

Trapping: Trapping will not eliminate yellow jackets, but can help to reduce their numbers. Various types of traps are baited with liquid or dry attractants and will allow insects to enter, but not escape. Place the traps around the perimeter of the area you want to protect so that you draw the yellow jackets away from the people. Aggressive trapping will significantly reduce the number of fall-foraging yellow jackets and the risk of stings. Do not skimp on the number of traps, as you may need lots of traps to get effective population reduction. Place traps according to the manufacturer’s directions. Empty the traps and change baits frequently to keep the traps effective. Traps should always be placed out of reach of children.

Following these steps in the spring should lead to fewer incidents with yellow jackets and other stinging insects in the late summer and autumn. See Virginia Tech’s website for more information on IPM for yellow jackets and wasps. Also, check out EPA’s website for information on smart, sensible and sustainable pest management in schools.

About the Author: Marcia is with EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM in Dallas, Texas. She holds a PhD in Environmental Management from Montclair State University along with degrees in Biology, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, and Instruction and Curriculum. Marcia was formerly with the EPA Region 2 Pesticides Program and has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology, and Oceanography at several universities.

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Developing Green Job Opportunities in Brownfields-Impacted Communities Thu, 12 May 2016 16:02:09 +0000 The first seeds of brownfields job training—and of the brownfields program itself—emerged in the early 1990s, reflecting our growing concern for environmental equity (now known as environmental justice). Back then, we provided funds for the assessment and cleanup of abandoned and potentially contaminated sites through brownfields grants. The funds brought job opportunities to those communities where the assessments and cleanups were taking place, but there was one problem. The jobs were going to environmental professionals from other cities because, more times than not, local residents lacked the environmental training these jobs demanded.

So in 1998, based on the urging of local community and environmental justice leaders, we launched the brownfields job training program. We wanted to help ensure that individuals from communities who had dealt with the high unemployment, poverty, historic disinvestment and health disparities that came along with brownfields, could be qualified to take advantage of the job opportunities created when cleaning up these sites. The program simultaneously served as a ladder of opportunity for residents from some of the most economically distressed communities in America for jobs, and one of the first green jobs programs. That first year, we awarded eleven brownfields job training pilots, and by 1999 the program produced its first 100 graduates.

Since 1998, the program has evolved and is now referred to as the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program. The program provides funding to grantees so they can recruit, train, and place unemployed and severely under-employed individuals from these impacted communities in long-term environmental careers. These individuals are single mothers, low-income individuals, minorities, dislocated workers, tribal residents, ex-offenders, veterans, and other individuals with extreme barriers to employment. At this point, more than 14,700 individuals from communities historically affected by environmental pollution have been trained and more than 10,600 have been placed in environmental jobs throughout the country.

The EWDJT program is intended to not only help revitalize the land, but also transform the lives of those living on it. It is with great pleasure that we announce today the selection of 18 new entities that are aiming to do just that. We are awarding approximately $3.5 million in new EWDJT grants. We see this investment as a great way to more directly involve affected communities in their own revitalization.

View this year’s EWDJT selections

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Green Streets Make a Visible Difference in Norfolk Thu, 12 May 2016 15:42:48 +0000 by Andrew Wynne

EPA’s Building Blocks program is helping to turn streets - like this one in Norfolk’s Chesterfield Heights neighborhood – into green streets

EPA’s Building Blocks program is helping to turn streets – like this one in Norfolk’s Chesterfield Heights neighborhood – into green streets.

The occasional pop-up shower or thunderstorm is commonplace here in the mid-Atlantic during the spring season. While these dreary, rainy days can seem to linger and provide ample time for a good book or movie marathon, they also provide important resources for our gardens, lawns, and trees. In more urban environments, green infrastructure helps to mitigate stormwater runoff and flooding, while providing environmental, social, and economic benefits.

In low-lying communities and those with high percentages of impervious surface cover, even mild storm events can wreak havoc, leading to storm sewer overflows and flooding. Sitting at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and bound by numerous tributaries, Norfolk, Virginia is already beginning to feel the effects of a changing climate, as rising sea levels and tidal waters combine to create a wet and potent cocktail for the coastal city.

EPA is collaborating with Norfolk city leaders and local stakeholders to build community and infrastructure capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change, improve water quality, and enhance quality of life in neighborhoods. Recently, EPA’s mid-Atlantic office coordinated with the City of Norfolk on a Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities technical assistance workshop as part of the Making a Visible Difference (MVD) in Communities effort.

The workshop brought together community members and various city departments to identify and implement green and complete streets, seeing green infrastructure practices as opportunities to manage stormwater, reduce flooding and pollution, increase green space, and lower demand on the city’s stormwater drainage system, while also making roadways safer, more inviting, and able to accommodate multiple users and modes of transportation. These practices are integral to the city’s plans to address resilience and prepare for sea level rise.

Interested in learning more about how you can incorporate green infrastructure practices into your own home or community? Check out EPA’s Green Infrastructure Wizard (GIWIZ) tool and additional green infrastructure resources, including fact sheets, design and implementation guides, and funding opportunities. You can find out more about our work in Norfolk and other communities around the mid-Atlantic region via our EPA Smart Growth webpage.


About the author: Andrew Wynne works in EPA Region 3’s Environmental Assessment and Innovation Division on community-based sustainability and climate adaptation programs. An avid traveler and road-tripper, he enjoys exploring unique environments through SCUBA diving and cross-country skiing.




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Events to Watch for in May Wed, 11 May 2016 16:42:04 +0000 By Michaela Burns

May is the best month—yes I said it. It’s the month before summer vacation, it’s the month where the weather gets warmer, and it’s the month of my birthday. Here are some public meetings and webinars EPA is hosting this month.

Look out for these events!

Children’s Center Monthly Webinar
Wednesday, May 11th 1:00 p.m. ET

paper cutouts of kids and a houseUp first is the EPA and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Children’s Center Webinar series. This month’s topic is on the exposome, the measure of exposures in an individual lifetime and how those exposures affect their health. This webinar is bringing together leading experts in this field—Dr. Elaine Faustman from University of Washington, Dr. Roy Gerona from University of California, San Francisco, and Dr. Stephen Rappaport from University of California, Berkeley. After the presentations, Dr. Yuxia Cui of NIEHS will moderate a discussion.
Register now to be a part of the conversation.

Harmful Algal Blooms
Wednesday, May 18th 3:00 p.m. ET

harmful algal bloomsMost algae species are not harmful, but sometimes certain types can bloom in excessive amounts and cause severe damage to human health, aquatic ecosystems, and local economies. Harmful algal blooms (HABs), algae that produce unhealthy toxins, cause problems across the nation. EPA researchers are looking for ways to eliminate or reduce the negative effects of HABs.
Register to get up to speed.

iCSS Chemistry Dashboard
Thursday, May 26th 11:00 a.m. ET

screen shot of chemistry dashboardCurious about chemistry data for over 700,000 chemicals? Then you can’t miss this month’s Computational Toxicology Communities of Practice webinar. Tune in to learn more about our Interactive Chemical Safety for Sustainability Chemistry Dashboard. This online tool provides access to chemical structures, experimental and predicted data, and additional links to relevant websites and applications. Chemistry information on thousands of chemicals will now be more publicly accessible!
Contact Monica Linnenbrink ( to register.

Responding to Harmful Algal Blooms
Tuesday, May 31st, 2:00 p.m. ET

Lake ErieHarmful algal blooms pose particular challenges for small drinking water systems. In this month’s small systems webinar, EPA Environmental Engineer Nicholas Dugan will review the removal capacities of common processes used in drinking water treatment, present a strategy for evaluating an existing treatment facility, and discuss how to use this information to improve a facility’s performance. Heather Raymond of Ohio EPA’s Division of Drinking and Ground Waters will cover source and finished water monitoring options and their limitations and benefits. Bonus—Attendees have the option of receiving a certificate for one continuing education contact hour for each webinar. Register now!

For more events check out the EPA Research Events page.

About the Author: Michaela Burns is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor and writer for the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

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Restaurants Go Zero Food Waste in Food Recovery Challenge Tue, 10 May 2016 16:14:59 +0000  

By Rob Guillemin

When I go to my local self-serve lunch spot, I eat everything I put on my tray, picking the perfect combination of hot entrée items and salad bar treats without an ounce to spare. In fact, I can be pretty smug about my “zero food waste” lunch (a modern version of the Clean Plate Club) until I remember that all the food prep was done for me in the back kitchen.  That’s where piles of carrot and potato peals and other food scraps, along with mounds of uneaten or unused food, typically head to the landfill. Curtcafe

Fortunately, Café de Boston, a buffet and prepared foods eatery in downtown Boston, is one of the few but growing number of restaurants that has shown a real commitment to eliminating food waste. In May, this restaurant joined EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge along with over 800 businesses and organizations, including grocery stores, schools, hotels, hospitals, cafeterias, local governments and food manufactures. (See photo at Café with EPA New England Regional Administrator Curt Spalding). By keeping better track of food inventories and setting food waste prevention goals, participating organizations in 2014 diverted nearly 606,000 tons of wasted food, which included over 88,500 tons donated to people in need.

These waste diversion efforts are a big deal, especially since food is the single largest waste material going to disposal each year. Food waste tipped the scale at 35 million tons in 2012.  It now accounts for 21 percent of the American waste stream, overtaking either discarded plastic or paper.

Once in the landfill, moist organic matter quickly decomposes, releasing methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide (CO2). The US EPA has identified landfills as the single largest source of methane, contributing approximately 34% of all man-made methane released to the atmosphere in the US.

Because food production accounts for 10% of total energy use, 50% of land use, and 80% of freshwater consumption in the United States, every wasted bite also squanders these resources. With this lifecycle perspective in mind, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that global food waste (including its production, transportation, and decomposition) is the 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gases based on 2007 levels data.  This means that 3.3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent is generated needlessly.

So, the next time you eat out, don’t be shy about asking your favorite restaurant to reduce food waste by joining EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. The Café de Boston did and now it is on track to divert over 30 tons of food waste from the landfill this year.  If the one million restaurants in America followed their lead, we could truly dine, food waste free, and take a huge, collective bite out of our greenhouse gas emissions.

Rob Guillemin is an environmental specialist at EPA’s New England office, where he tries to eat what he takes.


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EPA’s P3 Student Design Competition: Where Science and Creative Genius Meet Tue, 10 May 2016 15:37:37 +0000 By Christina Burchette

This year’s USA National Science & Engineering Festival was a huge event. The convention center in downtown Washington, DC was buzzing all weekend long with thousands of people coming to see the fascinating gizmos and gadgets on display by various companies and organizations (and to learn about science, of course).

While many of the exhibits boasted flashy set-ups and hi-tech gadgets that could awe anyone, our P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) student design competition participants were impressing passersby with the innovative genius of their simple, sustainable, and cost-effective projects. The EPA P3 design program invites college students to design environmental solutions that move us towards a sustainable future by benefiting people, promoting prosperity, and protecting the planet.

P3 participant shows project to little kid

P3 participant explains air filter project

Students share their P3 projects at the festival.

This year, 38 student teams received P3 Phase I grants of up to $15,000 to research and test the original projects that they presented at the USA Science & Engineering Festival. In a couple of months, some of these teams will be chosen to receive up to $75,000 in additional grant money to continue developing their projects and implement them in the field or marketplace.

When I wandered into the two rows of P3 teams, I was floored by the creativity and ingenuity of the projects—and how excited these students were to share their work.

One team told me that they created a self-sustaining mini-ecosystem comprised of just fish and vegetables. The fish waste provided fertilizer for the vegetables, and the vegetables kept the water clean for the fish to thrive. The system will provide organic food to those who need it most—the team was hoping to set up these systems at elementary schools for children who don’t get enough to eat at home. To add to that, the team plans to employ homeless vets to maintain and manage the mini-ecosystems. The project design is simple, completely organic and sustainable, and considers socioeconomic issues as well as environmental ones!

Another team used what they described as “home depot technology” to solve a problem that plagues major rivers that flow into the ocean: eutrophication, an excess of nutrients clogging waterways and sparking algal growth that absorbs oxygen that aquatic creatures depend on. Their project involved installing bioreactors with naturally-occurring bacteria at the edges of crop fields so that that bacteria could eat the excess nitrate that is washed away from fields by rain, instead of allowing it to flow off into waterways. It blew my mind how simple and effective their design was, and the fact that they said anyone could build it with the right tools.

What amazed me most about listening to all of the students and faculty talk about their projects is the fact that they’ve managed to develop such creative solutions to environmental issues that seem impossible to solve. It just goes to show how much we can accomplish with science, inspiration, and a little creativity.


About the Author: Christina Burchette is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor and writer for the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

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Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day Tue, 10 May 2016 14:02:13 +0000 Volunteers collect macroinvertebrates from streams in Puerto Rico.

Volunteers collect macroinvertebrates from streams in Puerto Rico.

By Rachael Graham

On April 9, 2016 more than 1,200 volunteers participated in Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day to measure… got it – water quality!

Over 150 sites throughout the island were sampled by volunteers from 30 municipalities as part of a worldwide effort to gather data using citizen science efforts. The data they collect will be uploaded and become part of a global data set for the World Water Monitoring Challenge.

This was the eighth year of the program coordinated by the San Juan Bay Estuary Program (SJBEP). Prior governmental and NGO sponsors for this event included EPA Region 2 Caribbean Environmental Protection Division (CEPD), Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (PREQB), the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Puerto Rico Water and Environment Association (PRWEA). For 2016, EPA Region 2’s Division of Environmental Science & Assessment partnered with SJBEP and CEPD and sent two biologists to provide technical assistance and training on additional water quality parameters for citizen science.

For the Water Monitoring Challenge, group leaders were trained to use a standardized water quality kit to measure dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature and turbidity in weeks prior to the event and then pass this training on to their individual team participants. In 2016, EPA added two other important water quality parameters as a pilot – E.coli and benthic macroinvertebrates.

Approximately 20 volunteers collected samples from 21 locations throughout the San Juan Bay Estuary watershed for analysis for Escherichia coli (E. coli), a common fecal bacteria found in sewage and animal waste. Each participant set up a test to measure E.coli that does not require any equipment and can be incubated at room temperature, called a Compartment Bag Test (CBT), which has everything required to measure E.coli in one small kit. EPA and SJBEP personnel took split samples of the volunteer samples and measured a more rigorous test for E. coli to compare results. The objective was to test the CBT method to see if it can differentiate between low, moderate and high levels of E.coli. Since rapid tests, like the CBT, are simple to conduct and require no laboratory equipment, they allow citizen scientists to screen their drinking water and ambient water for relative levels of fecal bacteria more readily. If successful, the CBT may be turned into a kit and provided on a wider scale for next year’s monitoring event.

Macroinvertebrates are indicators of water quality.

Macroinvertebrates are indicators of water quality.

Approximately 90 citizen scientists collected macroinvertebrates from streams in three different areas of the island – Rio Piedras, Rio Mameyes, and a tributary of the Rio Grande de Arecibo. Aquatic macroinvertebrates are creatures that lack a vertebrate, an internal skeleton like mammals. Macroinvertebrates in streams and rivers include insects (caddisflies, beetles, dragonflies), crustaceans (shrimp, crayfish, crabs), mollusks (snails, mussels, clams), and worms. Volunteers were trained on invertebrate ecology, general habitat and water quality requirements, taxa identification, and use of macroinvertebrates as indicators of healthy and poor water quality. The volunteers used the SJBEP field protocol to collect macroinvertebrates and make a determination of the water quality at the stream site. Additional samples were collected with kick nets to compile a taxa list of macroinvertebrates observed. PREQB was present for the demonstrations and would like to incorporate benthic macroinvertebrate data as a way to determine stream health.

To learn more about citizen science projects in EPA Region 2, visit:

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This Week in EPA Science Fri, 06 May 2016 19:41:21 +0000 By Kacey Fitzpatrick

research_recap_250It’s Air Quality Awareness Week! Did you forget to do anything for it? Well take a deep breath, we’ve got a ton of EPA air research for you to learn about right here.

Wildfire Research
EPA researchers have developed a biomass fuel system to test emissions from different fires using various types of fuel from common trees in the U.S. The goal is to determine if different fuels and the stage of fire (hot blaze versus smoldering) provide insight into potential health impacts from inhaling smoke from forest fires. Learn more about this research in the blog Simulating Wildland Fires in a Tube to Protect Public Health.

Generate! A game for all ages
EPA researcher Rebecca Dodder received a Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering award this week. Her award-winning research connects the dots between climate change, energy and air quality. One of her creative approaches to sharing science with the younger generation: a game called Generate! Learn more about the game in the blog Gamify the Grid!

Grants to Combat the Impacts of Climate Change
Climate change is affecting air quality by influencing the type and amount of pollutants in the air. EPA is taking action to protect air quality by awarding grants to 12 universities to study the implications to air quality from a changing climate. Read about this research in the blog Particulate Matter in a Changing World: Grants to Combat the Impacts of Climate Change.

Air Research Centers
EPA is funding three university-based Air, Climate and Energy Research Centers through the Science to Achieve Results program. The centers will tackle pressing air quality issues for many communities across the U.S. still overburdened by air pollution. Read more about the new centers in the blog Air Quality Awareness: A New Generation of Research.

Monitoring Air Quality from Space
EPA researchers are supporting the Korea-United States Air Quality Study, a study by NASA and South Korea to improve the capabilities of satellites to monitor air quality from space and provide answers to protect air quality overseas as well as in the U.S. Learn more about the study in a fact sheet available for download at:

And here are a couple of other stories we’re highlighting this week.

National Small Business Week!
Small businesses are engines of innovation. The federal government harnesses some of this ingenuity through the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs. EPA is one of eleven federal agencies that participate in SBIR. Finding SBIR funding opportunities for sensor-related research and development just became easier with the launch of Sensor Technology for the 21st Century. Read about this new resource in the blog Sensor Technology for the 21st Century.

Today is National Nurses Day!
Today marks the start of National Nurses Week, a time to honor all nurses and increase awareness of their immeasurable contributions to the health and well-being of our nation. EPA’s Dr. Wayne Cascio thanked the nurses in federal, state, and local service who attend to the well-being of our nation through their practice of environmental health and public health in his blog EPA Celebrates National Nurses Day and Honors Our Nurses.

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a student contractor and writer working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. She is a regular contributor to It All Starts with Science and the founding writer of “The Research Recap.”

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EPA Celebrates National Nurses Day and Honors Our Nurses Fri, 06 May 2016 15:15:42 +0000 By Wayne Cascio, MD

Happy National Nurses Day!

Today is National Nurses Day and marks the start of National Nurses Week, a time to honor all nurses and increase awareness of their immeasurable contributions to the health and well-being of our nation.  On this day, when our nation recognizes the largest single group of professionals within our health care workforce, I’d like to call attention to all nurses in federal, state, and local service who attend to the well-being of our nation through their practice of environmental health and public health.  Whether working for a county, a state health agency, the federal government, or the private sector, these dedicated professionals make a difference in the quality of life of the communities they serve.  They are often the health professionals on the front lines identifying and responding to the health and emotional impacts of environmental conditions affecting communities, working with at-risk populations, increasing environmental and health literacy, conducting research, fostering interdisciplinary cooperation and collaboration, and building coalitions.

The states and their departments of public health and environmental health provide the backbone of public health nursing in the US., EPA, the Environmental Council of the States, and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, recently signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding pledging to work together and find  additional opportunities to connect with other professionals who share our common mission.

Over the last two decades, public health nursing has sought to establish a unique identity based on its distinctive contributions to public health.  This identity is now well defined in the “Cornerstones of Public Health Nursing” (Keller, et al., 2011) that describes many themes shared by our Agency.  Public health nursing practice focuses on the health of the whole population with a holistic view of health that includes its mental, physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and environmental components.  Moreover, their practice is founded on principles of social justice, compassion, and the respect and worth of all people. Their work reflects the communities’ priorities and needs and promotes health through approaches driven by epidemiological evidence.

Today EPA is again reaching out to nurses and other allied health professionals to become more aware of environmental health issues and to view such issues as a key component of keeping the communities they serve safe and healthy.  We applaud the efforts of all nurses, especially our public health nurses, and on this special day call on them to celebrate their successes and envision a healthier future.

Reference:  Keller LO, Strohschein S, Schaffer MA. Cornerstones of Public Health Nursing. Public Health Nursing 28: 249–260, 2011

Dr CascioAbout the Author: Dr. Wayne Cascio spent more than 25 years as a cardiologist before joining EPA’s Office of Research and Development where he now leads research on the links between exposures to air pollution and public health, and seeks to increase cooperation among healthcare, public health and environmental health professionals to improve public health.

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