Monthly Archives: January 2022

Get to know DHEC’s Environmental Surveillance and Oversight Program (ESOP)

Beginning in 1995, the Midlands Aiken Environmental Affairs office of DHEC became the home base for Environmental Surveillance and Oversight Program (ESOP) . This program was established through an agreement between the Department of Energy-Savannah River (DOE-SR) and DHEC to provide non-regulatory, environmental monitoring of the Savannah River Site, a post-Cold War-era nuclear material production facility that is on a 310-square mile area located 20 miles south of Aiken.

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WIC Implements Program to Identify Developmental Milestones in Children

DHEC’s WIC program is going a little farther this winter to encourage parents to learn the signs of healthy development with its implementation of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Learn the Signs. Act Early. Program.

According to the CDC, the “Learn the Signs. Act Early” program aims to improve the early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities so children and families can get the services and support they need.  

It is important to identify developmental delays and disabilities. The CDC reports that 1 in 6 children aged 3-17 years have developmental disabilities. The S.C. WIC program will aid parents in identifying these disabilities or delays sooner than later.  

As of Jan. 4, 2022, WIC began implementing this new program to its participants. As part of the program, parents will complete a milestone checklist. The list can be completed by paper or through the milestone tracker app.  

By monitoring their children’s milestones using the simple checklist, parents can identify what skills are typical at certain ages. It also aids parents to recognize when to act if they have concerns or if there are signs of possible developmental delay or disability.  

WIC providers recognize how a child plays, learn, speak, act, and move for their age are important signs of a child’s healthy growth and development. When a child’s development is delayed, WIC providers also know the value of a timely referral to support both the child and family. 

From June 1, 2021 – August 31, 2021, the Moncks Corner Health Department, and the Bluffton Health Department of the Lowcountry region piloted the program.    

During that time: 

  • 514 participants were educated on the developmental milestones 
  • 35 participants were referred for developmental screening 
  • 858 Milestone Matter lessons were completed on WICs’ online education platform, 

It is the success of the Lowcountry that has led the WIC program to implement a statewide rollout this month!

DHEC Marks National Radon Action Month By Raising Awareness of Radon and Free Test Kits

January is National Radon Action Month, and DHEC is encouraging all South Carolinians to test their homes for radon. You can request a free home test kit by clicking here.  

Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell or taste. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that it is the second leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.  

Any home can have a radon problem. The only way to determine if your home is trapping radon gas is to test. 

Quick Facts about Radon: 

  • Breathing in radon can change the cells in your lungs, which increases your chances for lung cancer. 
  • Radon is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. 
  • Smokers who are exposed to radon have a much higher risk of lung cancer. 
  • Elevated radon concentrations have been found across South Carolina. 
  • Homes can be modified to reduce radon levels. 
  • New homes can be built with radon-resistant features. 
  • South Carolina has nationally-certified professionals who can fix homes with elevated radon levels. 

The South Carolina Radon Program provides a radon test kit to homeowners free of charge. To learn more about radon or request your free home test kit, please click here. 

Experts Share Information for Birth Defects Awareness Month

In honor of January being National Birth Defects Awareness Month, DHEC’s Vinita Oberoi Leedom, SC Birth Defects Program (SCBDP) Manager, recently had the opportunity to talk to one of the leading experts on the matter, Dr. Sonja Rasmussen.  

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DHEC Honors Our Law Enforcement Officers

January 9, 2022, is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, a day dedicated to showing our support for the law enforcement agents that work tirelessly to protect our state’s environment and stop the diversion and abuse of controlled substances. 

DHEC thanks these men and women for the dedication, service, and commitment to the rule of law they display every day.

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