ASDWA Attends State Environmental Health Directors Meeting

Last week the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials hosted their annual meeting, bringing together leaders in environmental health to discuss issues of growing concern. This provided an excellent opportunity for state and territorial health experts to communicate with federal partners and advance environmental health priorities through policy. Discussions included strategies to promote Health in All Policies (HiAP), which intends to encourage health equity and sustainability, support collaboration between agencies, benefit multiple partners, engage stakeholders, and create structural or process change.

States discussed their implementation of HiAP in health impact assessments for topics such as water reuse. For example, engaging industry and identifying sources of water that would be best used for consumption or industrial use. State and territorial health officials also emphasized the importance of communicating with industry to strategically address contaminants of emerging concern.

Several PFAS health consultation projects across the country and exposure assessments are underway with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). A risk communication clearinghouse is being developed by EPA, ASTHO, and ECOS for PFAS and other emerging contaminants, with a webinar planned in July.

Other topics on the agenda included:

  • Discussions on HABs and new studies on health exposure to cyanotoxins,
  • Generating data and maps to identify vulnerable communities in regards to lead,
  • And the inclusion of climate change when discussing environmental health priorities.