OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

New research on environmental health in homes offered in workshops

03/19/2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Latest research findings on key environmental health issues in the home will be the topic of free workshops offered throughout the state in April and May.

The half-day workshops will address environmental health concerns such as indoor air quality, biological and chemical hazards in the home and diet, as well as pesticides and alternatives to pest control.

The workshops are offered through a new partnership—called EH@Home—between Oregon State University Extension Service and the OSU Environmental Health Science Center.

Indoor air quality is one of the top environmental risks in homes, according to the EPA, and includes hazards such as mold, tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, lead, dust mites and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

"The workshops will address some of the most common issues for keeping homes healthy," said Dave Stone, OSU Extension toxicologist, "and offer practical, low-cost solutions, such as controlling home moisture to limit mold growth."

Other topics recently in the news include mercury levels in fish and BPA (bisphenol-A), a compound found in canned foods and some types of bottles. Additionally, the workshops will raise awareness about lesser-known problems such as naphthalene found in mothballs or natural toxins in our diet.

Although banned in 1978, lead paint is still a problem where it has not been properly removed from older homes. “While blood lead levels in children are going down as a whole a subset continues to be at risk for exposure to lead,” Stone said.

Anyone is welcome to attend, but the EH@Home workshops are especially designed for individuals who work with the public such as county environmental health workers and coordinators of the government nutrition program WIC (Women, Infants, and Children).

The intent is to provide professional development opportunities to people that interact with under-represented or vulnerable populations, such as infants, children and anyone who has a medical condition, no access to health care or poor nutrition. These groups are more likely to suffer ill effects from chemical exposure.

Initial workshops will be in Salem, April 12; Eugene, April 20; Oregon City, May 5; and Portland, May 19. Others will be offered in eastern and southern Oregon in the near future, Stone said.

More information and online registration are at OSU’s Environmental Health Sciences Center Web site: http://ehsc.oregonstate.edu/ehathome. For questions, contact Dave Stone at 541-737-4433, Dave.Stone@oregonstate.edu. Lunch is provided.