School-Related Initiatives and Programs - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

School-Related Initiatives and Programs

Lead in School Drinking Water

The MDH lead in school drinking water program provides guidance to school administrators on the sources and health effects of lead in drinking water. Information is provided on how to test for lead in the drinking water and how to reduce exposure. This program also encourages school administrators to distribute lead information to parents so that they can evaluate exposure to lead in their homes. For general information about lead in drinking water, see Let It Run...and Get the Lead Out or Point of Use Water Treatment Units for Lead Reduction.

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Pesticide Use In Schools

Controlling pests in and around schools is necessary to protect children’s health. Pests can spread disease, trigger asthma attacks, and in the case of insect stings, cause life-threatening allergic reactions. At the same time, it is important to minimize children’s exposure to pesticides. See Pesticide Use in Schools for more information on how to make decisions that balance the risks between pests and pesticides.

The Minnesota Parents Right To Know Act of 2000 (MN Statutes: 121A.30) requires public and non-public K-12 schools to notify employees and parents/guardians about pesticide use on school property if certain pesticides are applied. For more information, see Pesticide Notification in Schools (Parents Right to Know Act).

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Indoor Air Quality in Schools

In 1997 and 2000 the MDH sponsored a series of workshops for school personnel on indoor air quality to educate school staff from across the state about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Tools for Schools Program. The 1997 Omnibus Education Act required school districts to develop and implement Indoor Air Quality Management Plans and to monitor and improve indoor air. Year 2000 is the last year that school districts can operate without a school-board-adopted Indoor Air Quality Management plan. The MDH has received a grant from the US EPA to determine how many Minnesota school districts have implemented the Tools for Schools program; to assist selected districts in getting the program implemented; and to identify school district indoor air quality coordinators.

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Children's Exposures to Chemicals and other Environmental Health Hazards in Schools

The MDH is participating in a joint initiative with the University of Minnesota and the Clean Air Group to conduct a school-based investigation of children's exposures in economically disadvantaged urban neighborhoods of Minneapolis. This school health initiative (SHIELD) was conducted to: (1) compare the indoor air quality between two public elementary schools, (2) measure children's exposures to multiple environmental stressors (e.g., volatile organic chemicals, environmental tobacco smoke, allergens, metals, pesticides); and (3) explore related effects on respiratory health and learning outcomes. Collection of environmental sampling data for this project was concluded only very recently, and data analysis will take some time to complete before findings will be reported in published form.

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Toxicology in the Classroom

MDH staff are collaborating with toxicologists in surrounding states to plan educational activities on toxicology for children in elementary and secondary schools. Potential activities include teacher training and classroom assistance to enable teachers to introduce concepts of toxicology into their classrooms.

Please Contact Health Risk Assessment for further information.

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Mold in Schools

This web page summarizes the main messages of the Recommended Best Practices for Mold Investigations in Minnesota Schools and provides additional public health advice on mold in schools. This "best practices" guidance document was created by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to assist public school staff in investigating the causes of indoor mold concerns and in finding cost-effective solutions. The intended audience is staff of Minnesota public schools such as Indoor Air Quality Coordinators, facilities and maintenance personnel, health and safety staff, and other school officials.

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Safe or Sorry (food safety)

Safe or Sorry (SOS) is an innovative new food safety program for consumers of all ages. It was developed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in collaboration with twenty partners. SOS is designed to be fun for participants and facilitators using humor, imagination, and active participation. Specific lessons include proper handwashing, keeping foods at correct temperatures, thorough cooking, and preventing cross-contamination.

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Other MDH Information About Schools

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Updated Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 09:35AM