Monthly Archives: August 2017

WIC Honors National Farmers Market Week

DHEC’s Division of WIC Services joined markets across the country to celebrate National Farmers Market Week during the week of August 6-12.

As demand for local food continues to grow, so too have the opportunities for America’s farmers to market fresh food directly to the consumer.

Markets benefit farmers and customers

According to statistics recently released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products. This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches.

“Farmers markets play a vital role not just in generating real income for farmers, but in forming healthy, prosperous food systems,” says Jen Cheek, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Farmers are teaching customers about agriculture and sharing recipes and new foods with their neighbors. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier.”

Providing access to fresh fruits and veggies

The WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is associated with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, popularly known as WIC. The WIC Program provides supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education at no cost to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding post-partum women, and to infants and children up to 5 years of age who are found to be at nutritional risk.

The WIC FMNP was established by Congress in 1992, to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC participants, and to expand the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers’ markets. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the program!

During summer months, select public health departments participate in the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. The SC WIC FMNP has 249 authorized farmers.  DHEC and the S.C. Department of Agriculture encourage you to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. WIC participants receive checks that may be used for fresh produce at approved local farmers markets and farm stands. Participants also learn how to choose, store, and prepare fresh produce by attending nutrition education classes.  WIC Farmers’ Market checks may be used to purchase SC-grown, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

New recipes and farmers markets

Ready to try some delicious new recipes for your farmers market fresh fruits and vegetables?

Searching for a South Carolina farmers market?  Click here.

DHEC in the News: New EPA Region 4 Administrator, drug arrest, pregnant women’s vitamin D levels

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

EPA Announces Appointment of Trey Glenn to Region 4 Administrator

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the appointment of Trey Glenn of Alabama to become Regional Administrator for EPA’s Southeast Region (Region 4).  Mr. Glenn will employ his 22 years of environmental and regulatory experience in leading the environmental protection efforts across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Conway Dentist Charged With Obtaining Drugs for Personal Use

Conway, S.C. (WPDE) — A Conway dentist has been arrested for violating drug distribution laws and obtaining drugs for his own personal use.

General Interest

Boosting pregnant women’s vitamin D levels may decrease risk of premature births: study 

Every day, more than 1,000 babies are born prematurely across North America. But new research suggests that many of those early deliveries could be avoided by boosting pregnant women’s vitamin D levels.

A new study from South Carolina involving more than 1,000 pregnant women found that up to 90 per cent of them had a vitamin D deficiency. The problem was especially pronounced among African-American and Hispanic women, researchers found.

South Atlantic Canners renews its commitment to protect the environment

Congratulations to South Atlantic Canners/Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated on their recent renewal into the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program (SCEEP), a voluntary program for companies committed to improving and protecting our state’s environment.

South Atlantic Canners is located in Bishopville, South Carolina, and is the second largest production center for Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated. They have four production lines, including the fastest can and 2-liter lines in the company.  Approximately 38 million cases of Coca-Cola product is produced at the facility per year.

South Atlantic Canners reportedly achieved zero waste to landfill status in 2014 and any materials that can’t be recycled are sent to an energy recovery facility.  Between 2011 and 2015, the facility reduced its overall carbon footprint by 3 percent, despite having an 8 percent increase in production.  They have also reportedly had decreases in their carbon dioxide emissions.

Community activities are also a strong point at South Atlantic Canners.  They are members of an “Adopt a Highway” program and have developed an “Adopt a Stream” program.  They have an extensive in-house recycling program and encourage employee participation on a recycling team.  Other community activities include a rain barrel donation program as well as a rain garden.

Join us in congratulating South Atlantic Canners/Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated on their renewed membership in the SCEEP.  Their membership will continue through March of 2020.

For more information about the SCEEP, please contact Rebecca Sproles at 803-898-3139 or sprolemr@dhec.sc.gov.

DHEC in the News: Eclipse, Summerville pool, safe sleep for babies

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Officials stress safety tips for solar eclipse day saying ‘Team South Carolina is ready’

Five college football games ending all at once. A hurricane evacuation. Several inches of snow.

These are a few of the logistical headaches South Carolina safety authorities have compared to the potential impact of the total solar eclipse set to pass directly over the state Monday afternoon.

With as many as 2 million visitors expected to descend on the Palmetto State to witness the rare event, officials are reminding residents one final time to avoid putting themselves in precarious situations.

DHEC: no ongoing chemical issues at Summerville pool 

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control says they found no ongoing chemical issues at the Ashborough pool in Summerville following a chemical release incident at the pool.

General Interest

Most moms aren’t putting babies to sleep safely, study says

(CNN) — Despite a 23-year campaign urging that babies be put to bed on their backs, only 43.7% of US mothers report that they both intend to use this method and actually do so all the time, according to a new study.

The Safe to Sleep campaign has been telling both caregivers and parents to use this position since 1994. Placing babies on their backs before they go to sleep reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, an unexplained fatal condition also known as SIDS, as well as other sleep-related infant deaths like suffocation, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

World Mosquito Day Isn’t A Day Off For The Pesky Insect

Although World Mosquito Day is just around the corner, don’t expect the pesky insects to take a holiday. They’ll be as active as ever, which means we must continue to be vigilant in avoiding bites.

World Mosquito Day, which is August 20, was established in 1897, when the link between mosquitoes and malaria transmission was discovered by Sir Ronald Ross. The intent was to raise awareness about malaria and how it can be prevented, as well as raise money to help find a cure.

These days, the observance provides the perfect opportunity to remind people about the host of diseases mosquitoes can spread, to include West Nile and Zika. The most common diseases that could potentially be carried by mosquitoes in South Carolina, home to at least 61 different species, include: West NileEastern Equine EncephalitisLa Crosse encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis virus, and dog/cat heartworm.

Although August 20 is the mosquito’s day, so to speak, DHEC urges residents to not feed or house the insects. Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and rid your home and yard of areas where they breed. Follow the following guidance:

Reduce the numbers of adult mosquitoes around your home.

  • Drain, fill or eliminate sites that have standing water.
  • Empty or throw away containers — from bottles and jars to tires and kiddie pools — that have standing water.

Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning or make sure that you repair and use window/door screens.

Avoid Mosquitoes: Most mosquito species bite during dawn, dusk, twilight hours and night. Some species bite during the day, especially in wooded or other shaded areas. Avoid exposure during these times and in these areas.

Wear insect repellent: When used as directed, insect repellent is the BEST way to protect yourself from mosquito bites—even children and pregnant women should protect themselves. Choose a repellent that contain one of the following:

  • DEET: Products containing DEET include Cutter, OFF!, Skintastic.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin): Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan outside the United States).
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD: Repel contains OLE.
  • IR3535: Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart.
  • More repellent information

Cover up: When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

So, apply the repellent, empty or get rid of containers in your yard holding water and have a Happy World Mosquito Day.

Click here to learn more about protecting yourself and your home from mosquitoes.

Visit the DHEC website to learn more about mosquitoes and the diseases they can spread.