Category Archives: Environment

DHEC in the News: DHEC mobile care unit, flu, opioids and meth

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

DHEC’s mobile care unit deploying to counties facing severe flooding

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WPDE) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will use its WIC Mobile Clinic to help those who can’t get to local health departments due to recent flooding from Hurricane Florence.

Later this week the mobile care van will travel to the Cheraw and Marion areas to provide adult immunizations and nutrition services for eligible women and children.

DHEC to deploy mobile care unit to SC flood stricken areas

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) – The South Carolina Department of Health says it will roll out its WIC mobile clinic to help residents in areas recovering from the flood.

General Interest

80,000 deaths caused by flu last season, CDC says

(CNN)An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means it was the deadliest season in more than four decades — since 1976, the date of the first published paper reporting total seasonal flu deaths, said CDC Spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund.

In previous seasons, flu-related deaths have ranged from a low of about 12,000 during the 2011-2012 season to a high of about 56,000 during the 2012-2013.

While America wages war on opioids, meth makes its comeback

(CNN)For Capt. Mark Wollmershauser Jr. and the Tulsa Police Department, the late-2000s and early 2010s were an extremely dangerous time.

In Oklahoma, a state that is no stranger to the scourge of methamphetamine addiction, those years were the heyday of the “shake and bake” method — a rudimentary way of making meth using just cold medicine, some toxic chemicals and an empty two-liter bottle.

The technique is simple enough that many addicts can cook their own meth, but with one tiny misstep, the chemical reaction that occurs inside can cause deadly explosions.

Pollution Prevention Week

Over the past few years, the third week of September has come to be known as Pollution Prevention (P2) Week. P2 Week (September 17-23) is a time for businesses, governments, and individuals to focus on preventing pollution, celebrating achievements, improving existing pollution prevention practices, and initiating new ones. You, too, can play a part in conserving our planet’s resources and moving us toward sustainability.

Here are some things you can do at HOME to help prevent pollution:

  • Conserve energy by turning off lights and electric appliances when not in use. Use energy-efficient light bulbs and buy Energy Star appliances.
  • Use environmentally-friendly cleaners and seal all containers to prevent harmful chemicals from evaporating into the environment.
  • Use electric-powered lawn equipment and bag yard clippings at the beginning of seed growing season to prevent them from being dispersed.
  • Reduce waste by reusing containers, composting food scraps, canceling unsolicited junk mail, and buying goods that use minimal packaging.

Here are some things you can do at WORK to help prevent pollution:

  • Form a Green Team. It is much easier to make your work place greener as a team.
  • Use your business’s intranet to educate employees on being green: Display a calendar with a focus on pollution prevention awareness events such as Earth Day, P2 Week, special recycle and paper shred days and bike-to-work day.
  • Promote recycling at work and make it easier to recycle by having an area where people can leave unwanted items that can be reused or repurposed.
  • When replacing office products (computers, faxes, etc.), choose ENERGY STAR-certified products.

Here are some things you can do at PLAY to help prevent pollution:

  • Use public transportation, walk, or ride a bike whenever possible to get to your destination.
  • Be car care aware; keeping your car in good condition can help reduce carbon emissions.
  • When on vacation, take your own toiletries and reuse towels to reduce energy usage and hot water consumption.
  • Use electronic tickets when traveling by saving or downloading the documents to your mobile devices.

For more information about Pollution Prevention week and how you can help prevent and reduce pollution, browse the South Carolina Smart Business Recycling Guide or go to https://www.epa.gov/p2.

DHEC to Host 2018 Environmental Assistance Conference

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Environmental Affairs is excited to announce the 2018 Environmental Assistance Conference – Compliance Assistance and Customer Service: DHEC and Industry Working Together.  The agenda will include regulatory compliance and permitting topics such as hazardous waste, dams, stormwater, air quality, solid waste and legislative updates.

Additionally, the conference will again have an “Exhibitor Showcase” featuring up to 30 businesses and organizations as well as DHEC staff to answer any technical or permitting questions.

The conference will be held on November 7, 2018, at the Columbia Conference Center in Columbia. You don’t want to miss this event!

Registration is currently open:

Registrations for both attendees and exhibitors is on a first come, first serve basis. Space is available for 30 exhibitors and approximately 250 attendees. The exhibitor fee is $250 per table and includes registration for two attendees. The attendee fee is $55 per person. All registrations include access to the exhibitor room, all presentations, a light breakfast, lunch, and breaks.

For conference updates and to register for the conference, please visit our website at www.scdhec.gov/environment/eac.  Questions about the conference or registration can be directed to Rebecca Sproles at sprolemr@dhec.sc.gov or 803-898-3139.

From Other Blogs: Drought, infectious disease prevention and the opioid response, broccoli & more

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

Tracking Network Data Spotlight: Drought

You don’t have to live in a desert to experience drought. Did you know that 48 states experienced drought in 2016? Dry periods of below-average rainfall are experienced throughout the United States: they can be relatively short or last years, and can cover both large and small areas.

Extended dry periods have become more frequent in parts of the United States during the past several decades. This can affect people’s health in a number of ways.  CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (Tracking Network) allows users to track the duration and severity of drought over time throughout the country. This information can inform a wide variety of environmental and public health efforts related to drought. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Integrating Infectious Disease Prevention and Treatment into the Opioid Response

The opioid crisis in the United States is devastating the lives of millions of Americans. Perhaps overshadowed by the alarming rise in overdoses and deaths is the accompanying numbers of injection-related infectious diseases. Opioid overdose deaths increased fivefold from 1999 to 2016, and new hepatitis C infections more than tripled from 2010 to 2016.

Some communities that have been hardest hit by the opioid crisis have also seen associated increases in hepatitis B and C and other infections, such as endocarditis, septic arthritis and abscesses, driven by increases in the numbers of people who inject opioids. — From the US Department of Health & Human Services blog

Always in Season: Frozen Broccoli 5-Ways

Summer is in full swing with warm, long days to enjoy with friends and family. The season offers a perfect time to stock your freezer with vegetables to have on-hand. Frozen vegetables are simple to store and an easy way to make half your plate fruits and vegetables year round. One popular freezer favorite for every season is frozen broccoli.

Broccoli mixes well with a variety of flavors and sauces and can be used in a many recipes. The convenience of frozen broccoli makes it easy to add to soups, casseroles, egg dishes and more. Part of the MyPlate Dark Green Vegetable subgroup, broccoli adds lively color to meals and provides nutrients such as dietary fiber, folate (folic acid) and vitamin C. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

NIFA-Funded Research Aims to Keep Bees on the Job

Bee populations in North America have been in decline since the 1940s. This is of great concern to the agriculture industry because about 75 percent of specialty crops depend on the services of pollinators – of which bees are the most economically important.

In the United States, honey bees and native bees are the most economically important species contributing approximately $15 billion in crop value. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) invests in research to investigate the reasons for the declining populations, promote pollinator health, reduce honey bee colony losses, and restore pollinator habitats. — From the USDA blog

SCEEP Celebrating 20 Years Of Promoting Good Environmental Stewardship

The South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program (SCEEP) is celebrating its 20th year of recognizing companies that practice good environmental stewardship. There are currently 46 member companies representing industries, businesses and utilities. A celebration is being planned for later in the year.

SCEEP is a voluntary initiative designed to recognize and reward South Carolina facilities that have demonstrated superior environmental performance through pollution prevention, energy and resource conservation, and the use of an environmental management system. The program is coordinated by DHEC’s Office of Environmental Affairs, but is directed by the SCEEP Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of industry, environment, government, academia and public interest.

SCEEP encourages companies to become environmental leaders and to mentor other companies. The member companies are able to share environmental knowledge and expertise so that other companies and facilities can better understand and appreciate the importance of environmental excellence and become environmental leaders themselves. They are committed to improving South Carolina’s environment by reducing their waste streams through pollution prevention and by reducing their consumption of energy and other resources.

For more information and a list of companies that have been honored by SCEEP, visit the DHEC website at www.scdhec.gov/sceep or contact Rebecca Sproles at (803) 898-3139 or by e-mail at sprolemr@dhec.sc.gov.