June 11, 2011 Children's EPA Community Forum: Protecting Schoolchildren from Environmental and Chemical Hazards.Untitled Post

posted Jun 5, 2011, 9:14 PM by Nancy Swan   [ updated Jun 5, 2011, 9:36 PM ]

The public and those who are responsible for child health and safety are encouraged to attend, including: child-care providers, child-recreation leaders, disaster-relief volunteer coordinators, educators, healthcare providers, school officials, lawmakers and community and government decision-makers.  Free admission.

June, 11, 2011, Children's Environmental Protection Alliance (Children's EPA) Community Forum: Protecting Schoolchildren From Environmental and Chemical Hazards will be held in Semmes, Alabama (near Mobile) from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., in the meeting room of Semmes Branch of the Mobile Public Library. 

Host Nancy Swan will discuss the health impact on child health and precautions learned from natural disasters and disaster clean-up, including recent tornadoes, the BP Oil Spill disaster, Hurricane Katrina. Discussion and Q & A are encouraged. Refreshments will be provided.

  • Claire Barnett will speak about the ABC’s of environmental problems in schools (“Asthma, Bugs, and Chemicals”) and highlight the simple prevention steps that schools can take to reduce risks and reduce costs.
Claire Barnett, whose younger son was pesticide-injured at school while she served on a New York State Governor’s commission, has a BA from Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA and a MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.  She is founder and Executive Director of the Healthy Schools Network, Inc. a national award-winning environmental health not for profit research, education, and advocacy organization, and the Coordinator of the national Coalition for Healthier Schools, convened by the Network and its national advisers.

The Healthy Schools Network has challenged the nation with a call to action to ensure that schools are environmentally responsible to children, to personnel, and to communities. She convened the fledgling Network in 1995 as a New York statewide coalition; it has won new funds and multiple laws on school environments in the nation’s third largest educational system (New York State) and the nation’s single largest school district (New York City). She also fostered successful replications of the Network’s agenda in over a dozen states. Under her leadership, the national Coalition has won two federal laws and funds for schools, including US EPA Healthy Schools Initiative which will issue federal environmental health guidelines and state grants to advance healthy environments for children. The Network is an EPA partner in environmental health and coordinates National Healthy Schools Day annually.
  • Dr. Anne Turner-Henson will give a presentation on the impact on child-health from exposure to poor environmental conditions and hazardous chemicals and address need for prevention in K-12 schools, Head Start programs, preschools, and for special needs children. 
Dr. Turner-Henson is a Professor at the University of Alabama School Of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She holds joint adjunct faculty appointments in the UAB Schools of Medicine (General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine) and Public Health (Maternal Child Health Division).  Dr. Turner-Henson has dedicated herself to providing visionary leadership in research, policy development (local, state, national), and community empowerment in the areas of child health, environmental health, and children with special needs. She has conducted interdisciplinary research to test innovative models of care (e.g., asthma, secondhand smoke reduction, household chemicals), resulting in adoption of these programs in various Alabama communities in local school districts, child care programs (Head Start) and community-based organizations.  She serves on multiple state and national committees as an advocate for child health.  Dr. Turner-Henson is a member of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee. 

Dr. Turner-Henson is project director of the Leadership Education in Child-Health Nursing program (LECHN), funded by the Maternal Child Health Bureau, DHHS.  The aim of the LECHN program is to prepare the next generation of nursing faculty leaders in child-health nursing education who conduct biobehavioral research.  Empowering communities through building grassroots initiatives to reduce children’s environmental risk and promote healthy communities is a key focus of her work.

In 2010, Professor Turner Henson, gave a one day workshop for nurses at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Nurses & Environmental Health: Health Consequences of the Gulf Oil Spill   The workshop informed nurses and health professionals about the environmental health consequences of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill and taught health risk communication strategies.  Continuing education credit was offered without cost to attendees of the workshop, which was sponsored by the University of South Alabama College of Nursing, University of Alabama, Birmingham, School of Nursing, Leadership Education in Child-Health Nursing (LECHN) Program, and University of Maryland Environmental Health Education Center.

Nancy Swan, founder and director of Children's Environmental Protection Alliance and host of Children's EPA Community Forum, will make a presentation about her chemical exposure and injury, and injuries to more than two dozen schoolchildren during a roofing renovation project at the school where she was teaching school.  She will introduce Children's EPA mission to promote federal and state disaster plans to include specific Disaster Plans for children and schools.  Nancy Swan will moderate Q and A, include submitted Q and A, commentary, suggestions.

Mrs. Swan hosted three CDC/ATSDR Community Conversations in Mobile, Alabama in 2010 as part of the CDC/ATSDR National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposure.  She submitted the results of the Community Conversation and participated in review of CDC/ATSDR policy changes.

Nancy Swan earned a BA in Home Economics and Theater and attended graduate school at San Jose State University of California and the University of Southern Mississippi.   While teaching public school for ten years, Mrs. Swan earning a masters level education through the University of Southern Mississippi, wrote and illustrated Threads and Stuff, a textbook/workbook for to teach basic learning skills through practical application, and directed and designed lighting for dozens of community, church, and school musicals and plays.

From 2009-2011, Nancy Swan initiated the signing of six National Healthy Schools Day governor's proclamations: three consecutive Alabama National Healthy Schools Day Proclamations, including two from Governor Bob Riley and one this year from Governor Robert Bentley.  Mrs Swan also secured two NHSD proclamations from Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and one from Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.  She met with Alabama Governors Bob Riley in 2010 and Robert Bentley and Tennessee Governor Haslam in 2011 and requested their support for healthier schools.  On April 29, 2011, Pat Greenwood, news anchor for WPMI  Local 15 TV, interviewed Nancy Swan about her experience and her soon to be completed book, Toxic Justice.   See article published June 5 in Mobile Press Register, "Toxic exposure is a serious issue on campus."

Mrs. Swan will moderate questions, provide resources for additional information, and suggest opportunities and programs available for community members, school officials, and government support to improve environmental and chemical protection for schoolchildren.
Children's Environmental Protection Alliance will continue to sponsor Children's EPA Community Forums and to invite guest speakers to
  • improve school environmental and chemical quality and to commend improvements,
  • introduce, educate, and discuss environmental and chemical hazards affecting children in the U.S.A. and internationally,
  • provide information resources,
  • provide opportunities to resolve, propose, endorse, participate, and or action to reduce or prevent environmental and chemicals hazards to children wherever they live, play, and learn.
  • promote Federal and State Disaster response plans to include age appropriate plans for children
    • to include pre-disaster plans, disaster response plans, post disaster plans, and clean-up regulations for groups responding. 
    • it include required training and certification, for those responsible for children safety.
    • Development of Disaster Plans to posted in all preschool, daycare centers, and all private, public, and home schools.
    • Plans should include biannual public announcement and written and email notification to parents and responsible adults.
Free admission.  Preregistration is not necessary, but is encouraged.  Attendees may email questions and concerns in advance.  Please email Nancy Swan at
Please provide the following information:
  • First and Last name and title (Ms., Mrs., Miss, Mr., Dr., RN, etc.)
  • Mailing address, including zip code,
  • Email and or telephone number, for confirmation and updates,
  • Organization, if applicable,
  • Website, if applicable, and
  • Questions, comments, concerns, and other additional information that may be helpful to providers of Children's EPA Community Forums and for preparation by guest speakers.  Please indicate by writing "anon" after you question or comment, if you do not want to be identified.
To subscribe to the mailing list for future Children's Environmental Protection Alliance Community Forums or to sponsor or request a Children's EPA Community Forum in your area, please email your request and contact information to Nancy Swan at 

May is Asthma Awareness Month (Global)

posted May 26, 2011, 3:27 PM by Nancy Swan   [ updated May 28, 2011, 2:27 PM ]

In the United States, it is easy to start asthma awareness activities in our communities, cities and states.  It is much harder to get US Congressmen and Presidential participation in or recognition of Asthma Awareness Month.   One out of ten children have asthma, with a higher numbers among economic disadvantaged and minority children. 

Although U. S. medical professionals and government agencies recognize asthma as life-threatening disease, treatable by pharmaceutical products, there is little recognition as to what causes asthma and no recognition that includes regulation, investigation, nor enforcement harmful environmental and chemical conditions known to cause and trigger asthma attacks. 

A parent emailed me that her asthmatic children were constantly threatened by their next door neighbor burning trash (without the required permit), and fumes from paints and solvents used during the day.  There was no one to investigate and the city refused to enforce "no burning" regulations.  Last year, her young son passed out at school and had to be rushed to the emergency room.  Even though his teacher knew he was asthmatic, the child had been required to run laps in an unventilated gym that had just been re-floored with polyurethane paints and sealants.  Parents of the schoolchildren were never informed, nor warned that asthma provoking chemicals were present at the school.

I have an asthma-like condition, permanent restrictive lung disease, resulting from exposure to methyl diphenol isocyanate and toluene diisocyanate.  Both were known to cause asthma causing chemicals in  a spray on foam roofing system (link is not the applicator but example of similar product) applied to the roof of the school where I was teaching. 

Those responsible for child (and adult) safety in places where they live, learn, and play, are not aware of what "asthma" is, what triggers an asthma attack, nor how to prevent attacks.  Many asthma attacks can be prevented by controlling, correcting, or eliminating exposure to environmental and chemical conditions.     Perhaps those who refuse to correct conditions that trigger asthma may have never experienced an asthma attack, a life threatening disease that can cut off airways.  Imagine the panic of not being able to breathe, slowly being strangled into unconsciousness, knowing that without help, you may die.  

Plan a simple by effective asthma awareness program in your country, state, county, city, or community leaders.

    1.  Get support from officials - Submit a resolution or proclamation to Governors, mayors, city and state lawmakers and officials, using suggested proclamation published by the EPA.

    2. Inform the community - Post EPA links of blogs about Asthma, share Asthma Community Network on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social network and in organization news. 

    3. Support by attending webnars, conferences, and group forums to promote asthma awareness.

    4.  Asthma Community Network provides links to 

            Find a program near you

            Join the Asthma Community Network

            Explore and read asthma resources

"Asthma Awareness Month is a global effort to help people learn how to control asthma. EPA provides cost-free event planning materials." -

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Children's EPA Community Forum June 11 at Semmes branch of the Mobile Public Library

posted May 26, 2011, 2:20 PM by Nancy Swan

The Mobile Press Register, serving South Alabama published this article about the June 11 Children's EPA Community Forum " Toxic exposure is a serious issue on campus" <>

June 11, 2011, 2:30-4:30 at the Semmes Branch of the Mobile Public Library

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