Drought is a prolonged dry period caused by less than normal rainfall or snowfall for an extended period of time. Drought can lead to water shortages, meaning there is less water available for drinking, food production and swimming. It can also lead to other impacts such as poor water quality and more wildfires. Drought can affect our physical and mental health as well as the local economy. Drought conditions sometimes take years to develop and can last as short as one season or as long as many decades.
Along with the cold, snow and ice, winter weather can affect your health. The cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia and can contribute to heart attacks when shoveling snow. Icy conditions can cause slips and falls when walking and crashes while driving. Plus, climate change is causing lake ice to thin, which can result in hypothermia and drowning from falling through the ice. Improper burning of heat sources can cause poor indoor air quality and carbon monoxide poisioning. Be sure to stay safe and warm this winter.
How are we doing at promoting policies that ensure Vermonters can grow up, live and work in a healthy environment?
The Health Department Lab tests for radon, blue green algae and for bacteria in water.
National studies have shown that air pollution in our homes can be more of a health concern than air pollution outside. Indoor pollutant levels may, in fact, be many times higher than outdoor levels. There are three main reasons why indoor air quality is becoming more of a health concern:
- It is estimated that Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors.
- More harmful chemicals are used in building materials, furnishings, pesticides, and household cleaning and personal care products.
- Homes and other buildings may not be properly ventilated.
For most school children and staff, the second largest contributor to their radon exposure is likely to be their school.
Climate change is expected to increase allergenic pollen in the air we breathe, increase mold growth in homes and businesses, and could increase air pollution from sources like wildfire smoke.
One in seven Vermont homes has unsafe levels of radon. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. Testing is the only way to know if it is in your home.
Responding to climate change will benefit health now.
The Envision Program best practices are intended to provide school administrators, nurses, maintenance and building services staff with tools to use when planning for renovations, preventative maintenance, pest management and control, monitoring of drinking water, and other building activities.