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State and Local Level State Programs

There is a huge variation in state programs addressing children’s environmental health issues. Most states have programs to correct lead-based problems in houses to reduce levels of lead poisoning in children. Most states have educational programs which vary from providing internet sites for securing information on asthma and lead poisoning to providing comprehensive sites for a variety of potential hazards to children. This includes information on: air quality, asthma, carbon monoxide, hazardous pollutants, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, asbestos, lead-based paints, indoor air pollution, allergens such as dust, mold at home and in schools, pet dander, chemicals from fragrances and cleaning products, insects and rodents, pesticides, healthy homes, diesel exhaust, arsenic found in soil, bacteria found in fresh recreational water, algae, pet wastes, BPA, mercury in fish, lead in children’s jewelry and toys, aftermath of flood waters, noise and hearing loss, PCBs in schools, pressure-treated wood in playground equipment, fly ash, hazardous waste sites, secondhand smoke, drinking water contaminants, contaminated food, injury control in the home, school and playground, agricultural chemicals, lead in home remedies and cosmetics, and mosquito and tick control. Some states have more active programs since they provide limited funding for such things as removing lead-based paint from homes to reworking diesel engines on school buses. Several states even have a formal Children’s Environmental Health Program.

The problem is that there is no consistent approach to the resolution of hazards affecting children from state to state and locality to locality. Unfortunately, children’s programs typically do not produce revenue and therefore, especially, in times of serious budget shortfalls, children’s issues are not given the resources that are necessary to avoid injury and illness and promote better health. In addition, where local and state health departments receive federal funding for specific programs, typically when the funds run out, the programs cease to exist. Also, many local and state funding agencies use the federal funds as an excuse for reducing the regular budget for other environmental health programs. For any given locality or state, it is necessary to contact the appropriate health department, over the internet or by phone, to determine what programs or educational materials are available to help resolve children’s environmental health issues. Federal internet sites are also very useful for obtaining educational and training materials.

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