Terry on Nov 27th 2009
Community Health Surveys
Community Health Studies and Environmental Contamination
This website from the California Department of Health’s Environmental Health Investigations Branch gives information on community health studies from the point of view of public health staff.
Five Tips for Successful Walkers
Prepared by Dee Lewis, Concerned Resident’s Initiative
- Do not get into a debate with community members about the link between chemical exposures and illnesses. Explain that you are a volunteer, and that since this survey is the first step in determining the scope of the problem, there are no answers yet to these questions.
- Likewise, do not try to answer personal medical questions. Remind the resident that you are a community volunteer and all health questions should be directed to their physician.
- If a community member is hostile or uninterested in taking part in this project, simply thank them and walk to the next house.
- Leave your organization’s contact information at all homes.
- When you finish walking your street, promptly return the packet of surveys to your walk coordinator.
Citizen scientists are branching into the field of environmental monitoring. While many techniques require specialized equipment and training, some citizens are making a difference in their community with do-it-yourself environmental sampling.
One astute commenter points out that the lead-check stick has a limit of detection that is 25x the allowed level of lead in toys. If this is true then a negative lead-check stick result would not be a guarantee of safety. However, this method is still very helpful for identifying high concentrations of lead (Terry’s note: such as I found in my mini-blinds and Mexican clay salsa server).
Louisiana Bucket Brigade
The EPA-approved “bucket” is a simple, community friendly tool that fenceline neighbors use to take air samples. Taking air samples is a powerful experience for community members who are used to being ignored, overlooked, and disrespected by corporations and government.
Environmental Monitoring Methods
Manual of Analytical Methods
NIOSH maintains a collection of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed.
National Environmental Methods Index
This site is especially strong for environmental methods to test water.
Do you have more suggestions or resources for citizen scientists? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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