Monday, April 27, 2015

Earth Day is Every Day at Jefferson County Public Health

"Some people who talk about the environment talk about it as though it involves only a question of clean air and clean water. The environment involves the whole broad spectrum of man's relationship to all other living creatures, including other human beings. It involves the environment in its broadest and deepest sense.”
- Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day

Public Health is all about preventing illness and disease in our communities and while April 22, 2015, is reserved as Earth Day, every day is earth day at Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH). Creating healthier communities involves taking a close look at what makes us healthy or sick to begin with. The Jefferson County Public Health 2013 annual report highlights some of the work we are continually doing to improve health for everyone in the county.  A report released in 2014 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Time to Act: investing in the Health of our Children and Communities urges that we integrate health into community development, especially for low-income neighborhoods.  JCPH is committed to working with agencies, businesses and the community towards creating a healthier county for all to live, work, play and age.

Jefferson County Public Health's Environmental Health Services (EHS) works to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling harmful environmental factors in Jefferson County. 
EHS prevents, investigates and responds to health threats in the County from environmental sources such as our air, land, water, the food we eat and the domestic and wild animals and insects we encounter. EHS also inspects facilities including schools, daycares and restaurants for adherence to public health safety and disease control measures.  Information, resources and referrals are available from specialists in water quality, air quality, consumer protection and environmental protection. 

Resources and services include, but are not limited to, the following topics; air pollution, water pollution, individual sewage disposal systems, solid waste, drinking water, food borne illnesses, food service inspections, child care inspections, recycling and radon mitigation. For more information on any environmental health service, please call 303-232-6301, or visit the JCPH EHS web page

Every division in Jefferson County, including the health department, practices environmental stewardship through reuse, recycling, energy conservation, and water conservation.  These actions are good for people and the planet.  Everyone has a role in protecting our earth and natural resources.  Consider bringing your own shopping bag to the store, recycling household hazardous waste as well as other household items, using water thoughtfully and saving energy when possible.  Together we can make a difference. 

Learn more about Earth Day and its founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson.   Earth Day . . . The making of the modern environmental movement.    Accessibility on the web continues a Gaylord Nelson focus of making environmental knowledge freely available to all citizens so that local and national decisions could be informed, collaborative, and effective.


Do You Ever Wonder, “Is Mold Okay to Eat?”

For many foods it actually is OK to just cut away the mold and eat the rest, but some molds are dangerous and can be toxic. These molds can cause respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal illness, and some allergies, too. Hard foods that are safe, if you pare away the bad spots, include:
  • Carrots
  • Firm cheeses
  • Pears

As a general rule of thumb, hard foods are harder for mold to penetrate. Softer foods, like soft cheeses, are easier and cutting mold away does not ensure you’ve gotten rid of the mold. So, if you’ve got some grapes and there’s mold on a couple of them, throw the bunch away. Below is a list of foods generally regarded as safe once you’ve cut away the mold:

Mold on hard fruit/veggies: Cut about ½ inch around the mold to get rid of it.
Hard cheese: cut about ½-1 inch around mold, rewrap cheese with new covering
Hard salami/dry cured ham: OK to use, mold adds flavor to the salami, can scrub the mold    off the coating of the ham.
Gorgonzola/Bleu cheese: Cut out the moldy spot.

However, once you’ve cut away the bad part and eaten your fill, make sure to place the food in a new package, not the old package in which it was previously stored. This is because there could be traces of mold left behind that will contaminate the cheese and/or food. You should also clean the entire vegetable bin if you’ve found a piece with mold on it.

Not OK, even if there’s just a bit of mold:
  • Brie, Camembert
  • Hot dogs
  • Bacon
  • Casseroles
  • Leftovers
  • Pasta
  • Jams/jellies
  • Yogurt/sour cream
  • Lunch meat
  • Cooked meats
  • Soft fruits/ veggies/ even mold on orange rinds
  • Bread/baked goods
  • Sliced, shredded, cubed cheese
  • Nuts/nut butters

Finally, according to the USDA, you can minimize mold growth by:
  • Using leftovers within 3 to 4 days.
  • Cleaning your refrigerator every few months with 1 tablespoon baking soda dissolved in a quart of water.
  • Scrubbing visible mold using 3 teaspoons of bleach in a quart of water.

For more information on food safety, food safety inspections, and food safety courses, please visit our Food Safety website