Category Archives: Health

What about lead poisoning in King County?

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Lead in drinking water has been all over the news in recent months.  Should we be concerned about lead poisoning in King County?

In King County, water is not a common source for lead. Lead in drinking water usually comes from pipes or fittings.  These are five things to know about lead in drinking water.

 Lead from paint is the most common and dangerous source of exposure. Lead was added to house paint before it was banned in residential paint in 1978, so if your home was built before then, you may have paint with lead in it where you live. This is a concern because as old paint cracks and peels, it creates dangerous dust.

Children under six are most at risk for lead poisoning because their bodies are developing.  If you are concerned that your child may have been exposed to lead, talk with your health care provider.  The only way to know for sure if a person has been exposed to lead is to do a blood test.

How can you keep your family safer and reduce exposure to lead paint?

  • Reduce your exposure to possible lead dust in your home by dusting with a damp cloth and using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
  • Keep children away from peeling paint.  Lead tastes sweet and children have been known to eat paint flakes.
  • If you are remodeling the home you own and live in, and it was built before 1978, follow safe remodeling practices to reduce exposure.  If you hire someone, they must be a lead certified contractor.

Another source of lead in our area is contaminated soil.  Lead is in soil due to many years of lead in gasoline and years of contamination by regional smelters.  Reduce your family’s exposure to lead in soil:

  • Remove shoes before going inside
  • Cover bare patches in your yard with ground cover
  • Keep pets clean.

If you have questions call staff at our Household Hazards Line at 206-296-4692, Monday to Friday, except holidays, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Keep your family safer: get rid of unwanted hazardous products

 

You can’t watch children all the time.  So how can you keep them safer?ChildReachingCupboard

If you have unwanted hazardous products you could get them out of your home and away from curious hands.

How can you tell which products under the sink or in the closet are hazardous?

Look on the label.  If you see the words DANGER or POISON, that means the product is very harmful.

If you see the words CAUTION or WARNING, that means the products is somewhat harmful.

And if you don’t see CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER OR POISON on the product label, that means the product is safer to use.

So if you want to get rid of hazardous products you don’t want, what do you do?

Getting rid of hazardous products you no longer use can help keep you and your family safer.

Help Us Celebrate the Groundbreaking Work of Healthier Nail Salons

NailGardenLiz This weekend Seattle will celebrate the first certified Healthy Nail Salon – the Nail Garden in the Green Lake neighborhood, located at 7900 E. Greenlake Dr. N, #109, Seattle, WA 98103. The celebration starts at 11 am and goes until 2 pm. Be one of the first 30 visitors and receive a bottle of “3-free” polish (no toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate) with this coupon. What’s special about Nail Garden that makes it a “certified” healthy nail salon? Those of us who have braved strong solvent odors for a manicure or pedicure will appreciate that this salon has a ventilation system that diverts the odors outside where they are quickly dissipated. This benefits not only the customers but the nail technicians who spend up to 8 to 10 hours a day breathing the vapors. It is not uncommon for nail technicians to experience dizziness, nausea and headaches. Long-term exposure can cause asthma, liver and kidney issues and memory problems. Most nail technicians are Vietnamese and have limited English proficiency. Like most of us, many are not aware of the problems exposure to these chemicals may cause. The Healthy Nail Salon project in King County partnered with salons to help them improve their ventilation systems, find safer chemicals and personal protective equipment. It also created a recognition program for those salons that safely handle, store and dispose of their chemicals. Come celebrate with Nail Garden this Saturday from 11 am to 2:00 pm. The celebration is more than just this nail salon’s commitment to protecting the health of their employees. It’s also a celebration of the groundbreaking work the Healthy Nail Salon project is doing in King County. The Healthy Nail Salon project is a part of the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County.

Seven simple steps to prevent children’s poisonings

It’s hard to keep an eye on small children all the time, and young children put everything in their mouth. Follow these simple steps to reduce the chance of a poisoning in your home.

Step 1. Make green cleaners – Household cleaners are the third most common reason for accidental poisoning of children. Reduce your child’s exposure to toxins and make your own green cleaners (PDF).

Green clean kit

Build your own green cleaning kit

Step 2. Buy safer cleaners. If you don’t have the time or interest to make your own green cleaners, buy safer ones. How? Read the label. Look in the lower left-hand corner for the words CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER or POISON. Avoid products that say DANGER or POISON. Instead, buy products that have WARNING or CAUTION. Labels with WARNING carry a higher level of hazard than CAUTION. Sometimes two products that do the same thing have different warning labels like these products below – one says WARNING and the other says CAUTION. The product with the word CAUTION is safer than the product with WARNING. Buy the product with CAUTION.

Which product is safer_DangerCautionHighlight

Step 3. Store products safely – Help keep kids safer by storing hazardous products away from their reach. Lock cabinets or take a new look at where you keep your products.

Blond girl under kitchen sink

Step 4. Store and use hazardous products away from food – Children and adults can easily confuse edible products that are in look-a-like containers. Contact the Washington Poison Center 1-800-222-1222 for free help in case of exposure to poisonous, hazardous, or toxic substances.

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Step 5. Dispose of unwanted or expired medicines at one of these free, medicine take-back locations. Store the medicines you keep safely by locking them in a drawer, cabinet or medicine lock box.

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Step 6. Keep hazardous materials in their original containers – Unmarked and reused containers are easily confused with food – like these containers below that were reused to store waste diesel fuel. If you have to store a product outside of its original container, clearly label and safely dispose of it.

diesel fuel stored in juice bottles_Kitsap Co Solid Waste

(Photo courtesy of Kitsap County Solid Waste)

Step 7. Take unwanted household hazardous products to one of these disposal locations. It’s easy to do and it’s free! Watch this video to see how easy it is.

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Make room for the new. Clear out the stuff you no longer need!

Is making more space in your home  one of your New Year’s resolutions? If so, here are five tips to help you do this safely:

Tip #1: Take unwanted products or waste with these words on the label: CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER or POISON to a household hazardous waste site. These words are usually on the lower left hand corner of the front of the container. Locations.

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Tip #2: Do you have chemicals in your home (think garage, basement, attic)? Avoid explosions by calling 206-263-8899 before you move them. Chemicals can also be in hobby kits or chemical bottle collections.

chem shelves in basement_Cropped_DW

Tip #3: Get rid of the latex paint you no longer need: Stir kitty litter into it until it’s almost solid and put the lid on it – then throw it in the trash. Detailed instructions. Oil-based paint needs to be disposed as hazardous waste. Locations.

kitty litter in paint

Tip # 4: Keeps medicines away from pets, children and teens! Bring your unwanted medicines to a voluntary medicine take-back program for safe disposal. Locations.

A young girl looks at a pile of pills that was left on a counter.

Tip #5: Make use of even your ripped and holey clothing and shoes. Take them to a recycling drop off that will ensure they are recycled into new clothing for those less fortunate. More info here.

ripped pants_greggoconnell_flickr

Two local artists’ perspectives on hazardous materials and you.

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© 2014 Edie Everette, HazMatters, comic book excerpt. Courtesy of the artist.

Two Seattle artists have created a comic book and short film that humorously connect hazardous materials, public health and the environment. Public Art 4Culture and King County’s Local Hazardous Waste Management Program commissioned cartoonist Edie Everette and animator Clyde Petersen to create a new kind of public service announcement, in both English and Spanish.

Everett’s comic, HazMatters, is a series of vignettes that explores how we live with hazardous products. The book cleverly reveals many ways household hazardous waste intersects with our everyday lives. It explores household hazardous waste and personal responsibility with stories full of questions, humor, and interactive activities. For a free copy of HazMatters by mail, call the Household Hazards Line at (206) 296-4692.

Petersen’s The Wild World of Pesticides is a short animated film featuring penguins and DDT that offers positive steps to reduce the use of toxic pesticides. It details the life and history of DDT and the positive steps we can take to reduce the use of toxic pesticides. A cast of stop-motion animated paper penguins living in a watercolor landscape tells stories of pesticide use in farming, landscaping and gardening. The film can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iKDgK1xllc

Both artists use visual storytelling to uncover a topic that can be confusing and overwhelming. They help explain what hazardous wastes are, their impacts on our environment, and how we can responsibly deal with them.

About the artists:

Edie Everette’s HazMatters (Porque los productos tóxicos son peligrosos), Everette is a visual artist, cartoonist and writer, gives a behind-the-scenes look into her HazMatters design process through her articles I am a Public Artist Part 1 and Part 2 on the 4Culture blog.

Clyde Petersen’s The Wild World of Pesticides (El Mundo Peligroso de los Pesticidas)  Clyde Petersen is an indie animator, musician, and a member of S.E.A.T. (Seattle Experimental Animation Team).

View the full press release.

Hidden hazards in the arts – Free workshop for artists

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Dave Waddell, with the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program’s Art Hazards Project, will give a free workshop for artists on hazardous materials in the studio.

He will share information and free safety equipment.

Artists may also schedule a free  studio visit to evaluate the hazards in their working environment. Vouchers are available to offset the 50% of the cost of safety improvements, up to $500.

Contact Dave Waddell at 206-263-3069 or dave.waddell@kingcounty.gov  to register for the free workshop.

What: Artists learn about hazardous materials in the studio & get free safety apparel and funding to improve safety

When: Wednesday, September 17 from 12:00-1:00 pm

Where:  4 Culture, 101Prefontaine Place, Seattle 98104

Hidden Hazards in the Arts – Free Workshop for Artists

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Find out how to identify safer chemicals, store art supplies safely and dispose of waste properly at a free

Hidden Hazards in the Arts workshop.

“We are here to help artists take out some of the risks of handling these chemicals, particularly since many of them have home studios.  We want to help artists protect their health and their families,” said Donna Galstad, a workshop presenter with the LHWMP Art Hazards project.

“I attended a Hidden Hazards in the Arts workshop, and there was so much information related to my personal art process and the materials I use —crucial new information to avoid exposure to toxins in the studio,” said Mark Calderon, a Seattle sculptor.

More information and register for this free workshop:

  • Tuesday, September 16
  • 6:30pm- 8:30pm
  • Shoreline City Hall – third floor classrooms
  • 17544 Midvale Ave N
  • Shoreline, WA 98133

Sponsored by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County and the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Arts Council.

Free Art Hazards Presentation at Kenmore Art Show

Hidden Hazards in the Arts workshop set for June 29.

Upcoming workshop on Art Safety.

Date: Sunday, June 29

Time: 5:00 to 7:00 PM

Location: Bastyr University Auditorium.

This engaging and informative workshop will provide you with an understanding of the ways art chemicals can harm you and how you can reduce those harmful exposures. It’s also a chance for you to get answers to questions about the specific circumstances in your practice and your studio from an expert in this field.

For more information, go to http://www.artsofkenmore.org/

Presenter Dave Waddell is an environmental investigator and chemical hazards specialist. Dave is the creator and coordinator of King County’s Art Hazards Project.
artist studio

Free workshop: Reducing Reproductive Risks to Artists

‘Hidden Hazards in the Arts’ workshop set for June 19 in Seattle

Upcoming workshop – Reducing Risks of Reproductive Harm to Artists

Date: June 19, 2014
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Artspace Hiawatha Lofts, 843 Hiawatha Place S., Seattle 98144.

Under ordinary circumstances it’s challenging for couples to produce a healthy baby:

  • 10 percent of women are infertile
  • 10 percent of men are too
  • 3 percent of newborns have birth defects
  • Up to 40% of pregnancies are unsuccessful, depending on the mother’s age at conception

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Then add in exposures to toxic art materials like resins, glues, solvents and metals that have been linked to problems: reduced fertility, miscarriages, birth defects, low birth weight, childhood cancer and developmental disorders.

Learn how to reduce reproductive risks from toxic chemicals.

Join other artists and designers at a free lecture and discussion on Reproductive Hazards in the Arts. Refreshments will be provided! RSVP to dave.waddell@kingcounty.gov or 206-263-3069.
Brought to you by The Art Hazards Project.

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