Pediatric Environmental Health

Our work on the development, dissemination and distribution of the Pediatric Environmental Health Toolkit, which was endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2008, continues to thrive. The Toolkit is a clinical tool designed to provide guidance to both providers and patients on preventing exposures to toxic chemicals (such as lead, mercury, pesticides) and other substances that may affect child health and identifies critical developmental stages and opportunities for age-appropriate intervention during well-child visits. For the past five years, over 1,000 practitioners in Bay Area communities have received Toolkits with bilingual posters and patient materials, participated in trainings and heard presentations about environmental toxicants that affect pediatric health and development and how best to communicate information about these toxicants in their everyday practices. While our broad goal is to see all health care providers integrate environmental issues into their routine practices, SF Bay Area PSR is committed to working with providers serving communities disproportionately impacted by environmental toxicants and has targeted our Northern California work on providers serving these communities, including Richmond, Antioch, Salinas, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. Our work with the Pediatric Toolkit will continue to focus on strengthening relationships with these practitioners and support them as they convey the importance of these issues to their peers in practice and their local communities. They have the potential to become some of our community’s strongest advocates on environmental health issues. SF PSR continues to explore and strengthen collaborative relationships with California Department of Public Health; community-based clinics; county and city public health departments; local and regional medical associations; and medical schools to create a larger distribution network for Toolkit materials.

The Toolkit files are available for download here.

Reproductive Environmental Health

SF Bay Area PSR’s work in reproductive environmental health focuses on providing information about preventing exposures to toxic chemicals and other substances that may affect the ability to get pregnant, maintain a healthy pregnancy, avoid poor birth outcomes, and subsequent child health. There is increasing scientific evidence of the impact environmental contaminants can have on early development. Exposures in the womb also can affect that child’s ability to have her or his own children. At issue are literally millions of lives – of all ages. Education and prevention of prenatal exposures are key elements of a larger strategy to reduce the impacts of environmental contaminants before the time of conception. Our desire is to prevent exposures via education of health professionals, as the conduit for women and their families, and to engage health professionals to advocate for public policy changes that result in reduced harmful exposures. It is critical that health care providers become knowledgeable about toxicants that impact the communities where they practice, not only to protect their individual patients, but also to effectively advocate for public health policies that provide maximum protection for current and future generations. If the medical community is not actively engaging with the local community, speaking with parents about environmental toxicants that can affect their children’s health, and calling for protections from the most dangerous chemicals for our public health, then who will?

For literature related to this program, see Materials.