Monthly Archives: October 2021

#NLPPW21: DHEC works to prevent lead poisoning; Governor’s Proclamation

Nationally, October 24-30 marks Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and locally, SC Gov. Henry McMaster proclaimed this week Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.

About 3.6 million American households have children under 6 years of age who live in homes with lead exposure hazards, according to HUD, and each year, more than 300 children are diagnosed with lead poisoning in the South Carolina. Lead exposure is especially dangerous to developing children and can lead to brain damage, learning disabilities, developmental delay, and behavioral and attention problems.

To learn more about Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, click here.

To learn more about the dangers of lead, click here or call the toll-free number 1-866-466-5323.

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DHEC partnership with Catawba Nation for lead surveillance; National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Tiffany Witherington, Catawba’s Environmental Health Specialist, William “Bill” Harris, Chief of the Catawba Indian Nation, H. Reed Corley, DHEC, & Darin Steen, formerly with Catawba Nation

*Please note this photo was taken in early 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic

As part of our commemoration of Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 24-30, 2021, DHEC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) is highlighting one of our successful initiatives: our lead surveillance, outreach, and data-sharing partnership with the Catawba Indian Nation.  

It is widely recognized that lead exposure disproportionately affects children. Tribal communities often have unique risks and barriers to healthcare that may increase the risks to Native children from lead exposure. Recognizing these risks, in 2017, DHEC’s Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, under the leadership of Linda Johnson, reached out to the Catawba Indian Nation, the only federally-recognized tribe in South Carolina. Tribal and DHEC leadership agreed to explore a partnership to identify and address lead risks for tribal children.  

Initially, DHEC received a letter of support from tribal leadership for our 2017 CDC CLPPP grant application. After receiving our CDC 3-year grant Notice of Award, staff from the Division of Children’s Health and Perinatal Services (CHPS) met with Catawba Nation representatives at their Rockhill, SC reservation headquarters to identify our shared goals and values. From this early meeting, the concept of initiating a childhood lead surveillance and outreach program was identified, and the program became a reality became a reality in early 2019.  

Since late 2017, “point” for the work of the CLPPP with the Catawba Indian Nation has been taken by H. Reed Corley, MPH, Childhood Lead Data and Outreach Coordinator in the CHPS Division. Accomplishments from this partnership, resulting from close collaboration between Mr. Corley and the Environmental Health Staff in the CIN, have included:  

  • development of a formal grant subrecipient partnership between DHEC and the Nation; 
  • development of a data-sharing agreement so that EPA trained Catawba Indian Nation staff could respond to a tribal child’s residence if successfully matched against a reported elevated blood lead level in DHEC’s electronic surveillance database (SCION); 
  • development of a database of Catawba Nation tribal children (up to 6 years of age); 
  • identifications of pre-78 homes on tribal lands or off-reservation pre-1978 homes where tribal children reside so that targeted outreach could be provided; 
  • Holding multiple community outreach events (e.g., back to school bashes, community health fairs), development of a social media page, and other outreach to education on lead risks to children; and, with a goal of long-term sustainability,  
  • EPA certification of Catawba Indian Nation Environmental Health staff to conduct environmental investigations designed to identify lead-based hazards.  

DHEC’s CLPPP successfully applied for and received CDC funding for a new 5-year grant cycle; we are excited that our partnership with Catawba Nation will continue for the foreseeable future.

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Saturday, Oct. 23, is DEA National Drug Take Back Day

Prevention is an essential element in the battle against substance misuse and abuse. October 23 – National Prescription Drug Take Back Day – is an important opportunity to encourage the safe disposal of unused prescription drugs.

Clean out your cabinets and drawers and bring your expired, leftover, or unused prescriptions to a participating DEA Take Back Day location near you on Saturday, October 23, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The last Take Back Day in April resulted in 7,885 lbs of prescription drugs collected at a total of 73 South Carolina participation sites.

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Honoring Hispanic Americans Who Have Made a Difference in the Environment and Public Health

As Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) comes to a close, we at DHEC want to take this opportunity to honor achievements by Hispanic Americans Public Health, Environmental Affairs, and Healthcare Quality as well as celebrate the wonderful work they continue to do today.

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DHEC Recognizes National Fire Prevention Week; Home Safety Tips

As we near the end National Fire Prevention Week, October 3-9, we wanted to highlight some important information.

DHEC’s Fire & Life Safety Section held a special fire extinguisher demonstration in conjunction with this year’s theme – “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!”

“Our presentation went over fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide, CO2, detectors, as well as utilizing a fire extinguisher to put out an ordinary combustible fire, which is trash, paper, ordinary things you would have in your house,” said Derrick Jones of the Fire & Life Safety Section. “It’s always important to make sure that people understand how a fire occurs, how to prevent a fire, as well as how to evacuate for escape if a fire did occur as well.”

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