The following are anonymous studies of environmental cases that the network has investigated across New York State. Many required detective work on the part of environmental specialists, pediatricians and partners. A resolution was achieved in these cases. The topics include everything from lead and mold to safety issues.
Multi-Center Collaboration: Mold in Schools
(New York City, Hudson Valley, Long Island)
The NYCCEHC in partnership with the Long Island and Hudson Valley CEHCs fielded multiple calls from parents and local physicians concerned about mold found in four schools in the larger metropolitan area. NYSCEHC experts provided counseling to numerous families and pediatricians about evidence-based management of mold exposure.
Lead Poisoning, Pregnancy and Window Restoration
(Western NY and Finger Lakes)
An obstetrician contacted NYSCEHC about a pregnant 32-year-old woman whose 3-year-old child had an elevated blood lead level. On further history, it was noted that her recent hobby was restoring old window frames and that she had just started working on her first window. Her child joined her as she scraped and refinished the wooden window frame at the dining room table. Western NY and Finger Lakes CEHC worked with the Lead Resource Program to share health messages to reduce lead exposures in the family.
Outdoor Air Pollution and Asthma at a School
A mother noticed that her son started returning from school with wheezing and coughing, initially thought to be due to a possible asthma trigger in his music class. The mother came for a consultation with the Hudson Valley CEHC. Our staff took a detailed history about possible exposures. The mother later discovered that 20 minutes before the end of the school day, a number of school buses were lined up immediately outside the music classroom windows, and were idling their engines. After NYSCEHC contacted the principal, the principal immediately instituted a policy prohibiting school buses from idling outside classrooms during class time. Within a week, this mother reported that her child was no longer coughing or wheezing and that she was able to reduce his asthma medications.
Ensuring Fire Safety in the Home
A 9 month-old baby boy seen in Albany Medical Center’s Pediatric Resident Clinic was noted to live in an apartment without working smoke detectors or carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. His mother reported that their landlord refused to install them. The Center referred this family to the local NY State Department of Health’s Healthy Neighborhoods Program, which performed an environmental health and safety evaluation of the home, and provided smoke detectors and CO detectors. The Healthy Neighborhood’s environmental worker later thanked our Center staff repeatedly for making this referral. “We couldn’t believe that they had NO smoke alarms in the entire home.”