Workshop Offers Award-Winning Environmental Curriculum for S.C. Teachers

By Betsy Crick

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Nearly 50 teachers and environmental educators were trained in Conway this week as part of the Action for Cleaner Tomorrow program.  This free training was provided by DHEC’s Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling.

The curriculum is correlated to the state’s science standards. The current edition features 16 lessons, including topics such as recycling, waste reduction, composting, buying recycled, and air quality and water conservation.  Each lesson provides a learning objective, background information and teacher preparation materials.

Teachers at this week’s training also had the opportunity to tour the Horry County landfill and the county’s materials recovery facility.

DHEC has recently changed its training model to offer multiple smaller workshops around the state so that teachers don’t have to travel long distances to attend a single workshop in Columbia.  This was the second workshop of the summer, and nearly 140 teachers have been trained.

South Carolina is one of the few states in the nation that offers a program of this type.  Please visit DHEC’s website for more information.

Keep Laundry Detergent Pods Out of Children’s Reach

By Beth De Santis

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Liquid detergent pods with their bright colors and squishy texture are almost irresistible to toddlers and young children.

But these highly-concentrated single load products present a serious health hazard, prompting the American Association of Poison Control Centers to issue an alert about their potential danger.

During the first half of this year, poison control centers across the country received more than 6,000 reports of children under 5 ingesting, inhaling or getting pod contents on skin or in their eyes.

Because these liquid packets are designed to dissolve in water, they can easily release concentrated detergent when they come into contact with wet hands or mouths.

Some children who have gotten the product in their mouths experienced excessive vomiting, wheezing and gasping. Others have had serious breathing problems that required needing a ventilator.

Consumer Reports this month warned against liquid laundry detergent pods for households with children younger than 6.

The independent, non-profit consumer product testing and research organization no longer recommends any type of liquid pod on its list of laundry detergents because of growing safety concerns.

Safe Kids Worldwide offers the following tips for liquid laundry detergent packets:

  • Keep liquid laundry packets out of children’s reach and sight.
  • Store packets in their original container and keep the container closed.
  • If a child gets into liquid laundry packets, immediately call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222.

Read more and see helpful videos on Safe Kids Worldwide here.

Read the entire Consumer Reports article here.

DHEC Drug Control Inspector Wins J.P. Strom Award

By Betsy Crick

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Pictured above: Hubert Harrell, Director of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy; Inspector Heather Diebold, Bureau of Drug Control; and Pam Hucks, Bureau of Drug Control Coastal District Director.

One of our DHEC Drug Control Inspectors, Heather Diebold, won the prestigious J.P. Strom award at her graduation from the Law Enforcement Academy on July 17.  Inspector Diebold received the J.P. Strom award from Director Harrell of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy during the graduation ceremony of Basic Law Class 634.  The Basic Law class is an intensive 12-week course to become a certified Class 1 Law Enforcement Officer.

The J.P. Strom Award is given to the student in each class who attains the highest cumulative academic score for all unit tests. A minimum 96% average must be achieved in order to qualify for the award.

For more information about DHEC’s Bureau of Drug Control, please visit our website.

The race is on! 2015 National Bike Challenge update

By Cassandra Harris

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Impacting nearly 35,000 state employees, the new A Healthier State initiative is promoting improved health by providing comprehensive baseline worksite assessments, model policies, and wellness consultation services. Starting in May, DHEC proudly kicked off a component of the worksite wellness initiative by joining the 2015 National Bike Challenge.

A nationwide event uniting thousands of current bicyclists—and encouraging countless new riders, the challenge aims to unite 100,000 riders to pedal 35 million miles from May 1, 2015 until September 30, 2015.

Now that we’re well into the challenge, we wanted to provide everyone with a quick update. Helping to promote a healthy lifestyle and air quality, Team DHEC has collectively ridden over 3,000 miles, enough to make it from the east coast to the west coast, and burned over 159,000 calories. Keep up the good work team!

Interested in joining TEAM DHEC? There’s still time. To participate in this year’s challenge, please contact Leslie Coolidge at coolidln@dhec.sc.gov.

Recycling education in the classroom

By Jim Beasley 

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Since 1993, DHEC has provided environmental education programs centered on its award-winning “Action for a cleaner tomorrow” environmental curriculum.

Called “Action” for short, the curriculum is revised every year and is correlated to the state’s science standards. More than 11,000 teachers have been trained to use “Action” since the 2009-2010 school year. It’s a great way to set kids on the road to learning about waste reduction, recycling, composting and other environmentally friendly activities.

Three-hour “Action” training workshops are available at no cost to teachers across the state through DHEC’s Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling.

To learn more about “Action” and related programs including fifth-and-seventh grade classroom presentations, click here or call 1-800-768-7348.