Environmental Health & Climate Change

Environmental Health and Climate Change Committee
Steven Goldstein, M.D.
E-mail Dr. Goldstein
Lucy Weinstein, MD
E-mail Dr. Weinstrin


Rachel Boykan
Larry Galinkin
Susan Gunduz
Jean Johnston


What to do if Wildfire Smoke is affecting your area

YOUTH v GOV” –an independent feature-length, award-winning documentary about Juliana v. United States – will begin streaming globally, on Netflix onFriday, April 29, 2022.
The film’s release comes at an important moment in the litigation as theJuliana plaintiffs await an imminent decision on a motion to amend their case, where a favorable decision could put them back on the path to trial.  Its premiere on Netflix also offers a rare opportunity for audiences worldwide to see a film about anactive, historically significant lawsuit that is moving through the U.S. court system right now.  It tells the story of the groundbreaking constitutional climate case brought by 21 young plaintiffs – a story whose conclusion is still unwritten – and their quest to secure children’s legal rights to a safe climate.

Pediatric Societies’ Declaration on Responding to the Impact of Climate Change on Children

These pediatric societies represent more than 1 million pediatricians around the world.

Letter to US EPA administrator Michael S. Regan defining the AAP Priorities for Addressing Climate Change to Improve Child Health.

Update on Activity:

Exploring ways to make it easier for pediatricians to incorporate information about the effects of climate change into their anticipatory guidance is worthy of our attention.  Climate Change plays a role in much of what we address in both well and sick visits.  Asthma, Covid-19, Pollution, Weather Extremes, New Disease Vectors, Organic Food, Sun, Nutrition and Pesticide Exposures are just some of the issues that we can address in our work as primary care doctors and specialists.  Anyone interested in this issue is welcome to work with me.

On a monthly AAP call with Climate Change Advocates from 50 states and Puerto Rico we share updates from our state and strategies to support addressing Climate Change.

There are two environmental bills in Albany that are part of our legislative agenda and are worthy of support:

  • Extended Producer Responsibility for Product Packaging S.1185 – Requires that those who produce recyclable materials bear some (if not all) of the costs of recycling.  The model for this issue is vehicle tires. Manufacturers participate in recycling and bear much of the environmental costs associated with the product.  Here is a link to a recent NYT’s article on the bill
  • Limiting Gas Powered Leaf Blower Use A.5375/S.001113 – Prohibits the use of gas powered leaf blowers from May 1 – September 30 each year to reduce air pollution and noise pollution.  Co-Chair Lucy Weinstein and Sheila Palevsky of Chapter 3 have been working on this issue for years.  Gas powered leaf blowers have many detrimental environmental effects and can affect the health of not only those using the machines but also those in the vicinity.

On behalf of the Chapters, I asked for their recognition as active on environmental and climate change issues on the website of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health.  Here is the California listing https://states.ms2ch.org/.  National AAP would like every Chapter and state to be listed.

Finally, I would like to recommend learning about an issue all of us will hear about eventually: the collapse of The Gulf Stream and its effects on the planet, and of course on health.  This interactive article from the NY Times is worth reading:

As pediatricians we have the opportunity to contribute to the efforts to combat Climate Change and influence the health of both this and future generations.  If you are interested in greening your institution, office or home, or adding your voice to environmental issues, please contact me at SJG34@Cornell.edu.

Heavy Metals in Baby Food

COEH Chairperson Dr. Aparna Bole recorded a 15-minute podcast with Radio MD for AAP regarding talking with kids about climate change.  It can be heard here: How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change.

2nd Annual Conference
Clinical Climate Change: Protecting Patients and Improving Health Outcomes in the Climate Crisis

AAP Lead Testing ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes)
The AAP is currently recruiting pediatric primary care practices to participate in the AAP Lead Testing ECHO.  Project ECHO is a telementoring program designed to create communities of learners by bringing together health care providers and experts in topical areas using didactic and casebased presentations, fostering an “all learn, all teach” approach. Using videoconferencing technology, quality improvement methodology, clinical management tools, and casebased learning, health care providers develop knowledge and selfefficacy on diseases, conditions, and/or processes.  This program will offer CME, Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part 2 and MOC Part 4 credit to participants. 
The AAP Lead Testing ECHO serves as a forum for pediatric primary care practices to improve knowledge, skills and self-efficacy around blood lead testing and follow-up care in order to better identify and treat children affected by lead exposure.  PEHSU faculty will serve as “hub” subject matter experts, with primary care practices as “spokes”.  This ECHO incorporates quality improvement work and will meet monthly January through July 2020.  More information is available in theAAP Lead Testing ECHO project flyer; to participate, please complete theAAP Lead Testing ECHO application. Thedeadline to apply is extended to Wednesday, January 15, 2020.  If you have any questions, please reach out to Shannon Limjuco atslimjuco@aap.org.

About Harvard’s project Early Adopters: State Approaches to Testing School Drinking Water for Lead in the United States and a direct link to the report.

A Bad Move That Could End Up Exposing Kids to Chemicals – New York Times article by Philip J. Landrigan, MD and Lynn R. Goldman, MD, MPH

Weakening the EPA’s ability to protect the most vulnerable – Washington Post article by Jerome A. Paulson, MD

The Chapter was the the recipient of the Richmond Center grant from the AAP in June of 2018.  Below are the Presentations from the lectures:

America Public Health Convention, 2018

America Public Health Convention, 2018

Co-chair Lucy Weinstein, MD, FAAP, at the American Public Health Association’s Convention in San Diego, advocating for vaccinations and for getting out the vote.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is seeking interested participants as it launches a national Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) for reproductive and pediatric environmental health through the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) program, co-managed by the AAPProject ECHO is an innovative hub and spoke model, that leverages technology to bring together specialty care providers at academic medical centers (hub) and primary care providers (PCPs) in local communities (spokes).  These formalized partnerships increase capacity for PCPs to identify, treat, and manage the care of their patients within the medical home.
PEHSU Project ECHO will serve as a forum for health care professionals to learn how to identify, diagnose and treat environmentally-related health conditions in children and reproductive-age women.  The ECHO sessions will occur via teleconference at regular intervals (intervals are TBD, based on survey results (e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly)) and will help build a bi-directional virtual knowledge network whereby participants learn from experts and each other, gaining access to evidence-based and capacity-building resources.  Each one-hour session includes a brief presentation by a national expert, followed by in-depth, practice-based presentations for discussion, problem-solving guidance and recommendations.  If you are interested in participating as a ‘spoke’ and to help us meet your needs, please consider completing the survey below by Wednesday, Nov. 29th. Sessions will begin in January 2018 and will conclude in September 2018.  Please complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9Y7PRPL
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration and please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,
Cassie Bernardi, MPH
Manager, PEHSU Program – East
American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Blvd
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
P: 847-434-7951

Environmental Health Newsletter, Fall 2017 – from the NY Chapter 2 and 3 Committees on Environmental Health

Environmental Health Newsletter, Fall 2016 – from the NY Chapter 2 and 3 Committees on Environmental Health

Environmental Health Newsletter, Fall 2015 – from the NY Chapter 2 and 3 Committees on Environmental Health

Environmental Health Newsletter, Fall 2014 – from the NY Chapter 2 and 3 Committees on Environmental Health – Word format

The Critical Roles of Health Professionals in Climate Change Prevention and Preparedness

The American Lung Association has led development of a sign-on letter that health professionals can join individually, supporting the light-duty vehicle standards on carbon emissions.  The AAP has been a strong advocate for federal policies to address the impact of climate change on children’s health.  Individual pediatricians may sign-on to the letter if interested.  Thank you!

New! On-Demand Webinars Available on the PEHSU National Classroom
The PEHSU network has added five new web on-demand webinars to the PEHSU National Classroom.  These webinars are part of an ongoing series of educational presentations by experts on issues that focus on current and emerging aspects of pediatric and reproductive environmental health. Speakers include experts from the PEHSU network, the Public Health Institute, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Topics covered include: 

  • Child lead poisoning cases assessment
  • Updates on lead exposure in Flint, Michigan and East Chicago, Indiana
  • The Dakota Access Pipeline
  • Wildfire disaster response and preparedness
  • Arsenic in rice
  • Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and infants
  • Air pollution and birth outcomes
  • The Prenatal Assessment of Environmental Risk Tool
  • Marijuana

All courses are self-paced, online courses offered by the federally-funded Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit program. 

These courses are FREE to all interested healthcare professionals, students, or other relevant occupations and qualify as continuing education by the Centers for Disease Control.

JAMA News article may be of interest: Medical Community Gathers Steam to Tackle Climate’s Health Effects
As many of you may know, the AAP passed a resolution at the Annual Leadership Forum to encourage pediatricians to educate their families on mitigation and adaptation strategies and work to provide sustainable practices (by example) in the office and hospital settings.  COEH will work on providing these tools to pediatricians through the Climate Change Toolkit.  In meantime, this is discussed in a recent JAMA News article that may be of interest to you.  Several of our AAP members are mentioned.

  Have you ever wondered what the numbers or recycling symbols mean at the bottom of plastic bottles and containers?  Read here for the whole story.

Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs) are a national network of pediatricians, nurses, and specialty physicians, with expertise in environmental health and its effect on children.  Each regional PEHSU serves as a resource for its pediatricians, public health officials, school personnel, early childhood providers, parents, and others who have concerns about potential health risks due to environmental health hazards (e.g. lead poisoning, fungus and mold, mercury, pesticides, and phthalates/Bisphenol A) involving children.

PEHSU logo

Through a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) were recently selected to oversee the management of the PEHSU Program. AAP coordinates the work of Regions 1-5, while ACMT coordinates the work of Regions 6-10. Together, the two organizations form the PEHSU National Office.

The PEHSU program offers many resources on a variety of topics regarding children’s environmental health. Some of the valuable resources that PEHSUs can offer are:

  • Evaluating suspected toxic exposures in a variety of settings
  • Working with families and the medical home to identify and interpret appropriate diagnostic tests
  • Medical management
  • Referral to specialty care
  • Education for health professionals or communities on children’s environmental health topics

Chapter Champions are encouarged to learn more about the services that PEHSUs provide by visiting: http://www.pehsu.net/aboutus.html

To find your regional PEHSU, go to: http://www.pehsu.net/findhelp.html

For questions or more information, please contact Cassie Bernardi at cbernardi@aap.org or 847-434-7951.


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