Tag Archives: water

DHEC in the News: Safe sleep, protecting water, workplace noise and high blood pressure

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

Health in Brief: DHEC encourages parents to practice ‘safe sleep’ habits with babies

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control recently published a press release reminding parents to practice safe sleep habits with infants. The agency reported that six infants in South Carolina die each month due to sleep-related deaths.

Study aims to protect water at the source

The clean air and water, mountain views and scenic rivers that attract so many people to the Upstate is the driving force behind a watershed plan being developed for the 220,000-acre Tyger River Watershed Basin.

Keeping it beautiful and clean for future generations is the goal of Upstate Forever, a Greenville-based land conservation organization that is parlaying a $40,000 federal grant into a plan to identify sources of water pollution as well as areas deemed “critical” for protection or restoration.

General Interest

CDC: Workplace noise linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol

High blood pressure and high cholesterol — two risk factors for heart disease — are more common among workers exposed to loud noise in their workplaces, according to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Celebrating 25 Years of Empowering Youth Environmental Action

By Amanda Ley
Watershed Manager—Broad/Edisto Basins
Champions of the Environment Program Coordinator
S.C. Watershed Atlas Coordinator
Bureau of Water

South Carolina students and teachers have been doing their part for the environment for 25 years! DHEC started Champions of the Environment in 1993 with the goal of

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Jackson Creek Elementary School: Wood Duck Habitat Installation (25th Anniversary Champion)

encouraging, enabling, and recognizing youth environmental education projects that develop awareness, promote behavior change, or improve and protect our water, air, and land.

Over the years, Champions has been providing monetary awards to students and teachers to carry out environmental education projects. By participating in hands-on environmental activities, students benefit the environment and become life-long environmental stewards.

Projects focus on current environmental issues

In the first year of the program, monthly awards recognized students who were actively developing solutions to environmental problems. Winners were featured in a TV commercial, and received Champions’ medallions and savings bonds.

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Irmo High School: The Bee’s Needs (25th Anniversary Champion)

Today, the Champions program awards eight $2,000 grants each year and several smaller grants to help get projects started. Grant winners are featured in a statewide TV commercial, their project is highlighted on the Champions of the Environment webpage, and they receive local recognition for their environmental work.

Over the years, Champions projects have evolved to keep up with current environmental issues. Initially, projects included recycling, gardening, and water quality. Now, this competitive grant program awards innovative projects involving alternative energy, bee keeping, stormwater management, habitat restoration, energy efficiency, and Adopt-A-Stream monitoring. Many schools partner with local environmental organizations, giving students the chance to work on real world projects alongside professionals.

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Lakewood Elementary School: Locally Grown Seed Library (25th Anniversary Champion) 

Since 1993, 323 projects have been awarded, impacting thousands of students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Additionally, people all over the state have heard and seen Champion’s environmental awareness messages via the TV spots featuring the winning schools. They are aired annually and are now also featured on social media platforms.

Strong partnership supports Champions program

Since its beginning, the Champions program has enjoyed a strong commitment from its business partners. The team effort between Champions’ public-private partnership has been instrumental to the long-term success of the Champions program, and has made it possible to fund so many environmental education projects. Today, the Partnership consists of DHEC, International Paper, and SCE&G, with assistance from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina.

Champions’ long-term goal is to foster an environmental ethic in youth that remains intact as they become adults, resulting in citizens who will both respect and protect our natural resources. Some of the first Champions would be in their 40s now, with families of their own, instilling environmental stewardship in the next generation.

Visit the DHEC website to learn more about the Champions of the Environment program and to see the list of 2017-2018 grant recipients and details about their projects.

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Handwashing In Fighting Germs

When it comes to protecting yourself and others and putting a stop to the spread of germs, don’t underestimate the power of handwashing.

Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and keep from spreading germs to others. It is particularly important to wash your hands at appropriate times when engaged in certain activities, such as before, during and after preparing food, after using the toilet and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. So, how should you wash your hands to make sure they are clean? Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you need a timer, hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If clean, running water is not accessible, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to clean your hands.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on handwashing. Also, view the video below for instructions on how to effectively wash your hands.

DHEC in the News: Mount Pleasant Water, Prescription Fraud, Rising Seas

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

A cancer cluster caused by pesticides in South Carolina would be hard to prove. Here’s why.

Cancer clusters are rare and difficult to prove, and pesticides are unlikely to be the cause of several recent cases of brain tumors in Mount Pleasant, a national water quality expert said.

Erik Olson, director of the National Resources Defense Council’s health program, said the system Mount Pleasant Waterworks uses — reverse osmosis — is an excellent technology that will “remove basically anything, including pesticides.”

“If they’ve had reverse osmosis for a long time, that would suggest it’s probably not pesticides,” Olson said.

Mount Pleasant has used the technology since 1991.

Warrants: Former Wellford police chief charged in prescription fraud

WELLFORD, SC (FOX Carolina) – The former police chief of Wellford is facing 10 charges connected to the filling of unauthorized prescriptions.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control confirmed 48-year-old Timothy Alexander was arrested on five counts of MDP other in Schedule I, II or III controlled substance and five counts of violation of drug distribution laws.

According to the arrest warrants, Alexander is accused of conspiring with a woman to obtain unauthorized Percocet prescriptions from pharmacies in Woodruff and Spartanburg.

General Interest

New study pinpoints sea rise hot spots, with Edisto and Kiawah islands caught in the crosshairs

In just 18 years — less than the life of some mortgages — rising seas will cause disruptive flooding in about 170 coastal communities across the United States, including Edisto and Kiawah islands, a new analysis says.

Prepared by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy group, the report is said to be the first nationwide attempt to identify tipping points — times and places where flooding is so frequent that residents abandon their land or pump big bucks into projects to hold back the ocean.

No stranger to high water, Charleston already sees regular “nuisance floods” at seasonal high tides, though the problem has grown worse in recent years. Charleston averaged four days of tidal flooding 50 years ago. Last year, the city had a record 50 flooding days, many when the sun shined.

Even so, the city has yet to reach a “chronic inundation” threshold — when 10 percent or more of its usable, non-wetland area floods at least 26 times per year, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists report.

That will change within a couple of generations.

Handwashing: The ‘do-it-yourself vaccine’

With all the visiting that occurs during the holiday season, germs can quickly and easily pass from person to person. When it comes to protecting yourself and others and putting a stop to the spread of germs, don’t underestimate the power of handwashing.

On its website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refers to handwashing as a “do-it-yourself vaccine.” Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and keep from spreading germs to others.

Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to clean your hands.

So, when should you wash your hands? Here’s what the CDC says:

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on handwashing. Also, view the video below for instructions on how to effectively wash your hands.