Category Archives: Environment

From Other Blogs: The dangers of carbon monoxide, staying fit, tracking Radon

 A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

According to the American Red Cross, more than 15,200 people go to hospital emergency rooms each year to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

And, approximately 400 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. — From Lexington Medical Center’s official blog

Fitting in fitness throughout your busy day

Finding time for exercise can be a challenge. Ideally, we should be getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. But how can you squeeze that into your already busy day? — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Radon: We Track That!

CDC’s Tracking Network connects people with vital information on a variety of health and environmental topics. Learn how radon data and information help determine individual and community risk for radon and inform community interventions. — The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Your Health – Your Environment blog

DHEC in the News: Narcan, flu, litter control

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

Myrtle Beach Police saved most lives with Narcan in South Carolina in 2018, DHEC says

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The Department of Health and Environmental Control says the Myrtle Beach Police Department saved the most lives from overdoses using Narcan than any other law enforcement agency in the state.

According to DHEC, the Myrtle Beach Police Department administered Narcan 21 times in 2018, and eight times in 2017.

Flu activity decreases in SC, deaths increase

Now that we’re getting into the typical peak of flu season in South Carolina, a decrease in activity may provide a false sense of security.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) puts out a weekly “Flu Watch” report. The most up-do-date numbers posted on their website showed a decrease in flu activity across the state for the second week of January.

However, there was a surge in the number of flu-related deaths.

PalmettoPride Releases 2018 Litter Control Report Numbers

PalmettoPride announced this week the 2018 Litter Control Enforcement Grant ticket numbers. From the 24 enforcement agencies that received a 2017-2018 Enforcement Grant, reports indicate that a total of $341,306.73 in fines were collected from 898 successfully prosecuted cases.

Many of the reporting agencies utilize both state statues and local ordinances when addressing littering and illegal dumping.

January is National Radon Action Month

This month is National Radon Action Month, and DHEC is encouraging all South Carolinians to test their homes for radon. Request your free home test kit today!

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 in the U.S. and the No. 1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

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

Quick Facts about Radon

  • Breathing in radon can change the cells in your lungs, which increases your chances for getting 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.
  • Radon levels of 70.0 pCi/L and higher have been found in South Carolina.
  • Nearly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.
  • Homes can be modified to reduce radon levels.
  • New homes can be built with radon-resistant features.
  • South Carolina has nationally certified radon professionals who can measure radon and fix homes with elevated radon.

The South Carolina Radon Program provides radon test kits to homeowners free of charge. Request your free home test kit at www.scdhec.gov/radon.

The 12 Days of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling

Although Christmas is a wonderful time of the year it is also a time when people generate tons of waste. While reducing, reusing, and recycling should be practiced year-round, it is even more important during the holidays when our waste is plenteous.

We at DHEC urge you to put these 12 recycling and waste reduction tips to use this holiday season:

1. Keep a waste-free kitchen: Before going shopping, look around to determine what you already have on hand and make a list of things you need before heading to the store. Compost or donate your unwanted food and recycle your cooking oil. Find other helpful tips at www.scdhec.gov/dont-waste-food-sc.

2. Have hard-to-recycle items? Consider only buying materials packaged in what can be recycled in your area. Find where and what you can recycle at www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/Recycling.

3. Give waste-less gifts like your time to clean someone’s house, piano or guitar lessons, gym memberships or certificates for pampering.

4. Most wrapping paper cannot be recycled, BUT you can reuse something to wrap with instead, such as paper bags, newspaper, maps or use reusable grocery bags, scarves or flower pots. Also reuse greeting cards to make gift tags.

5. Stop the unwanted mail! Check out ecocycle.org/junkmail for six easy steps. Make sure to recycle mail with your paper as well.

6. Prevent food waste this holiday by providing reusable containers or asking your guests to bring their own for leftovers.ledlights

7. Use LED lights, which last 10 times longer and use 80 percent less energy. Recycle your old strings of lights. Find more information on hard-to-recycle items at www.scdhec.gov/recycling-waste-reduction/recycling-hard-manage-items.

8. Go with an eco-deco theme by decorating with natural materials like greenery, gourds, fresh fruit and pine cones — all which can be composted after the holidays.

9. Set up a collection corner at your party by providing an area where guests can bring unwanted items to swap or donate.

10. Always let your guests know what can be recycled and composted. Clearly mark your bins and let guests know where they’re located.

11. Provide a green dining experience by using dishes and silverware instead of disposables.christmastree

12. Grind those greens. If you decorated a real tree and are ready for it to go, remember to find out where your county will be accepting them for grinding.

Visit the DHEC website for more tips and information on recycling and waste reduction.

From Other Blogs: Avoiding foodborne illness, cold weather tips, going green for the holidays & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Your Holiday How-To: Keeping Hot Foods HOT and Cold Foods COLD!

The holidays are here, which means plenty of gatherings with family, friends and food! These get-togethers are usually fun-filled with catching up, laughter and occasional dancing, so don’t let foodborne illness crash your party. One of the best ways to keep foodborne illness off the guest list is to keep your food items at the proper temperatures while you enjoy your party. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Cold weather tips to keep you safe

In South Carolina, we typically don’t have extremely cold weather. However, cold weather has the potential to be dangerous, so it’s important to know what to do when the freezing temperatures decide to creep up on us. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Go Green for the Holidays

Are you one of those organized people who are already prepared for the coming winter holidays? Or do you still have plans to make and gifts to buy? Either way, why not take a second look at some of your usual holiday activities to see if you can make them more “sustainable?”

Sustainability is the responsible use of environmental resources in the present so that future generations will have enough to meet their needs. This is a lofty goal; how can any one person make a difference in reaching it? You may not realize that you are already working toward sustainability if you reuse and recycle; compost; walk, bike, take transit, or drive low-emission vehicles; conserve water and electricity; join community clean-up efforts; or otherwise save resources. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment Blog

5 Practical Skills for the Holiday ‘Host(ess) with the Mostest’

It’s not easy playing the part of host or hostess with the “mostest” at the holidays. A lot of time, effort, and planning goes into making merry with family and friends. In all the excitement of getting the house and food ready for guests, honest mistakes, minor mishaps, and even life-threatening emergencies can happen.

Some accidents are just that … accidents; others—like turkey fryer fires—are often preventable. You can prepare for all of them. — From the CDC’s Public Health Matters Blog

Health for the Holidays: Risks and Recommendations for the Retail Industry

It’s finally here — the most wonderful time of the year… for shopping. People will visit retail stores to buy a variety of goods: the cleaning supplies they will use to prepare for holiday celebrations, the food and beverages they will serve at holiday gatherings, the holiday gifts they will give loved ones, and much more.

Economic projections suggest retailers should brace themselves for a heavy amount of seasonal shopping traffic this year.  … As the industry works to meet the demands of holiday shoppers, it’s important for store owners, managers, and employees to remember that the hustle and bustle can take a toll on retail workers’ physical and psychological well-being. — From the CDC’s NIOSH Science Blog