State Public Health Officials to Hold Information Session
Contamination in Old Fort Finishing Company Wells May Have Posed Health Risk to Community
RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services will be holding an information session at the Old Fort First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall located at 203 E. Main Street on Thursday, April 25, from 3 to 7 p.m. to present the results of a public health investigation into contamination of the town's water system during the mid-1980s. New information is available that indicates a small number of people who lived in the town of Old Fort between 1984 and 1988 may have been exposed to levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) in the water that might increase their chances of developing non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, kidney or liver cancer.
Individuals over the age of 25 who lived in Old Fort and drank municipal water during the four year period in the mid-1980s are encouraged to talk with their physicians about potential risks of exposure.
"Our goal is to inform the public of a risk that may have occurred in the 1980s so that individuals can talk with their health care providers," said State Health Director Laura Gerald. "Any knowledge about potential exposure can help health care providers make more informed recommendations regarding lifestyle changes, health screenings and treatment."
The contamination was in a well that the Old Fort Finishing Company donated to the town of Old Fort when the plant closed in 1984. The well was disconnected from the town's water supply in January 1988 after the contamination was discovered. Three private drinking water wells nearby also were found to be contaminated and residents were connected to the municipal water system the same year.
The current investigation was precipitated by a citizen concern about potential airborne chemical exposures at Old Fort Elementary School. The citizen also raised questions about a nearby former dry cleaning operation that closed more than 10 years ago. Public health investigators determined there is no current risk at the school. The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources' (DENR) Dry Cleaning Solvent Cleanup Act program conducts periodic monitoring of conditions at the dry cleaning site to detect any potential change that could pose a risk to public health.
Public health and DENR officials will be available to answer questions at the public information session.
"We encourage citizens to come to the public meeting to ask any questions they may have," said Old Fort Mayor Garland Norton. "We will stay as long as necessary to make sure our residents are well-informed."
You may view the report and additional documents on the investigation on the N.C. DHHS' Division of Public Health website at http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/oee/hace/by_site.html#oldfort
The Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department is teaming up with the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition in honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. During the month of May, we challenge you to include 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
Did you know that regular physical activity increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life? It also reduces your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer. Yet in our area a large number of individuals don't get enough physical activity.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that people:
- Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate activity includes things like walking fast, dancing, swimming, and raking leaves.
- Do muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights and using exercises bands at least 2 days a week.
Drinking too much alcohol increases the risk of health-related problems like injuries, violence, liver disease, and some types of cancer. This April during Alcohol Awareness Month, the Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department encourages you to take this time to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking too much.
To spread the word and prevent alcohol abuse, the Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department is joining other organizations across the country to honor Alcohol Awareness Month and prevent alcohol abuse in our community.
If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking:
• Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women and no more than 2 drinks a day for men.
• Keep track of how much you drink.
• Don’t drink when you are upset.
• Avoid places where people drink too much.
• Make a list of reasons not to drink.
The Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department recognizes National Public Health Week 2013 by hosting events all week long the first week of April at the McDowell County Health Department and promoting this year’s theme, “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money.”
Every year in the United States, seven out of 10 deaths are due to preventable chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In fact, chronic diseases account for a whopping 75 percent of national health care spending, yet only 3 percent of our health care dollars go toward prevention.
This week the McDowell Health Department will be hosting events to show people the fun, easy and small steps they can take to make prevention a part of their lives. The events showcase the value of investing in prevention: Research shows that investing just $10 per person each year in proven, community-based public health efforts can save the nation more than $16 billion within five years. That’s a $5.60 return for every $1 invested.
We all have a role to play in making our communities healthier places and the Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department is excited to help lead the way.
Many small preventive steps can add up to make a big difference in transforming a health care system focused on treatment to one that equally values prevention.
For example, research shows that each 10 percent increase in local public health spending contributes to a nearly 7 percent decrease in infant deaths, a 3.2 percent decrease in cardiovascular deaths and a 1.4 percent decrease in diabetes-related deaths.
Public health and prevention are critical pieces in creating a healthier nation.
Since 1995, communities nationwide have celebrated NPHW each April to draw attention to the need to help protect and improve the nation’s health. For more information visit http://www.nphw.org.
The Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department is proud to join the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics during March in celebrating National Nutrition Month®. This year's National Nutrition Month theme is "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day" and encourages consumers to develop a healthful eating plan that incorporates individual food choices and preferences.
Here are a few ways to "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day" from the food and nutrition experts at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
- Personalize your eating style: The easiest way to get the nutrients your body needs is to eat healthy foods you enjoy. Finding good-for-you foods that please your palette makes eating healthfully special and exciting.
- Eat for your lifestyle: Athletic, vegetarian/vegan, corporate and family lifestyles all have special nutritional needs, but eating right can be easy and tasty with attention to those foods that best help get you through the day.
- Incorporate cultural and ethnic traditions: Foods from around the globe often incorporate an abundance of unique, flavorful and nourishing ingredients. Keep traditions alive and bring the world to your family's table.
- Keep health concerns in mind: A healthful eating plan can help prevent and treat a variety of health concerns. With modification and moderation, you can still enjoy many of your favorite foods while meeting your nutritional needs and health goals.
- Make MyPlate your plate: Fill half of your plate with your favorite fruits and vegetables; keep protein portions lean and about three ounces; make at least half of your grain choices whole grains; and be sure to include low-fat or fat-free dairy.
As part of this public education campaign, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' National Nutrition Month website, which is located at www.eatright.org/nnm, includes a variety of helpful tips, fun games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources, all designed to spread the message of good nutrition around the "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day" theme.
Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatright.org.