U.S. EPA Aging Initiative List Serve January 2010
- News, Research, Reports and Presentations
- New Resources and Opportunities
- Building Healthy Communities
- Pharmaceuticals in the Environment
- Intergenerational Activities
- EPA Funding Opportunities
- Other Funding Opportunities
- Public Comments Requested
- 2010 Calendar of Events & Meetings and Call for Abstracts
4th Annual Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder Contest
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pleased to announce the 4th annual Rachel Carson intergenerational "Sense of Wonder" contest. Entries for the contest should be comprised of persons from both the younger and older generations. Media that teams can work with include poetry, photography, essays, and dance. The creative projects ought to contain and celebrate the legacy and love of nature that Rachel Carson so eloquently embodied. The contest is sponsored by the US EPA, the Dance Exchange, the Rachel Carson Council, Inc., and Generations United.
The contest takes its name from a book written by Carson and published (posthumously in 1965) 45 years ago, The Sense of Wonder. It reflects Carson's desire to have adults share with youth a sense of wonder about nature and help discover its joys. Teams may submit a poem, an essay, photograph or a dance video that captures the sense of wonder you see, hear, feel, and taste in nature. Teams may want to capture a sunrise, icicles melting on a sunny day, trees just beginning to send out green shoots, the sounds of night animals and insects or sparrows building a nest. You get the idea.
Teams will share through one of these distinct mediums their own interactions with and reflections on the wonders of nature. Mixed media entries are welcome as well, such as a photo accompanied with a poem or essay. Dance video entries can be performers or capture movements and visible changes in nature from dawn to dusk. The deadline for team entries is Wednesday, June 16, 2010. A panel of expert judges will select finalists. The winners in each category will then be determined by the public, who will have an opportunity to vote online in August and September for their favorite submission in each category: photography, essay, and poetry. Winners will be announced in October.
Carson wrote that she would endow every child with "a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life." However, "if a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in." The contest seeks to spur and instill that same sense of wonder among all generations. Should you need some inspiration from Rachel Carson, check out this web page about her and her works that captured nature so eloquently. Read more...
Entries are due June 16, 2010. Read more...
Ground Water-borne Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Etiologic Agents and Indicators
The EPA Symposium on Ground Water-borne Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Etiologic Agents and Indicators will be held from January 26-27, 2020, at the Carnegie Institute of Washington in Washington, DC. During this public meeting, renowned speakers will discuss newly published and forthcoming information on epidemiology studies for people who consume drinking water from public systems supplied by groundwater. Speakers will focus on endemic disease and predictive methods. There will also be discussions of pathogen and fecal indicator occurrence and transport - primarily E. coli and Cryptosporidum - in the subsurface. Details about the agenda and registration information can be found at: www.epa.gov/ncer/events/#jan2610
Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program
This national program seeks to provide professionals in health and aging with the experience and skills necessary to make a positive contribution to the development and implementation of health policies that affect older Americans. The program offers two different tracks: (1) a residential track that includes a nine-to-12-month placement in Washington, D.C. or at a state agency (as a legislative assistant in Congress, a professional staff member in an executive agency or in a policy organization); and (2) a non-residential track that includes a health policy project and brief placement(s) throughout the year at relevant sites. Core program components focused on career development and professional enrichment are provided for fellows in both tracks.
The program is open to physicians, nurses and social workers at all career stages (early, mid, and late) with a demonstrated commitment to health and aging issues and a desire to be involved in health policy at the federal, state or local level. Other professionals with clinical backgrounds (e.g., pharmacists, dentists, clinical psychologists) working in the field of health and aging are also eligible to apply. Under special circumstances, exceptions may be made for non-clinicians who are in positions that can impact health policy for older Americans at a clinical level.
In addition, the Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program announces their partnership with the John Heinz Senate Fellowship in Issues of the Aging. The programs have combined to create the joint John Heinz/Health and Aging Policy Fellowship. Each year, one individual will be designated the John Heinz/Health and Aging Policy Fellow. The goal of this program is to create a cadre of professional leaders who will serve as positive change agents in health and aging policy, helping to shape a healthy and productive future for older Americans.
This unique professional fellowship opportunity is supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies and directed by Harold Alan Pincus, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Health Policy and Management at Columbia University (in collaboration with the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship Program). The application deadline for the 2009-2010 fellowship year is April 15, 2010.
For further information, please visit our website at www.healthandagingpolicy.org or contact Phuong Huynh, Deputy Director of the program email@example.com or 212-543-6213 or Harold Pincus MD firstname.lastname@example.org
See the website for more information: www.healthandagingpolicy.org/
II. News, Research, Reports and Presentations
EPA Strengthens Smog Standard
The US EPA proposed the strictest health standards to date for smog. Smog, also known as ground-level ozone, is linked to a number of serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Ozone can even harm healthy people who work and play outdoors. The agency is proposing to replace the standards set by the previous administration, which many believe were not protective enough of human health.
"EPA is stepping up to protect Americans from one of the most persistent and widespread pollutants we face. Smog in the air we breathe poses a very serious health threat, especially to children and individuals suffering from asthma and lung disease. It dirties our air, clouds our cities, and drives up our health care costs across the country," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Using the best science to strengthen these standards is a long overdue action that will help millions of Americans breathe easier and live healthier."
EPA is proposing to set the "primary" standard, which protects public health, at a level between 0.060 and 0.070 parts per million (ppm) measured over eight hours. Children are at the greatest risk from ozone, because their lungs are still developing, they are most likely to be active outdoors, and they are more likely than adults to have asthma. Adults with asthma or other lung diseases, and older adults are also sensitive to ozone.
EPA is also proposing to set a separate "secondary" standard to protect the environment, especially plants and trees. This seasonal standard is designed to protect plants and trees from damage occurring from repeated ozone exposure, which can reduce tree growth, damage leaves, and increase susceptibility to disease.
Ground-level ozone forms when emissions from industrial facilities, power plants, landfills and motor vehicles react in the sun.
EPA will take public comment for 60 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. More information: www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone
Well-Water Consumption and Parkinson's Disease in Rural California
Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 117, Number 12, December 2009
Nicole M. Gatto, et al.
Researchers hypothesized that consuming well-water contaminated with pesticides may play a role in Parkinson's Disease (PD). This hypothesis is supported by previous studies. Researchers used a GIS-based model to estimate potential well-water contamination from agricultural pesticides among cases and controls in the Parkinson's Environment and Genes Study. They also examined 6 pesticides were selected (diazion, paraquat, propargite, dimethoate, methomyl, and chloropryrifos) because of their potential to contaminate groundwater or for their interest in PD.
The study found exposure to a higher number of water-soluable pesticides and organophosphate pesticides also increased the relative risk of PD. This was the first study that utilized pesticide application records. The researchers concluded that this study's results add evidence that consuming well-water presumably contaminated with pesticides may play a role in the etiology of PD. ehp.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2009/117-12/ehp.0900852.pdf ( About PDF)
Long-term Exposure to Traffic-related Particulate Matter Impairs Cognitive Function in the Elderly
Environmental Research Volume 109, Issue 8, November 2009, pages 10004-1011
Ranft U, Schikowski T, Sugiri D, Krutmann J, Kramer U.
Animal studies suggest fine particulate matter (PM) can translocate from the upper respiratory tract to the brain and cause brain inflammation. Brain inflammation is involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. The researchers hypothesizing that long-term exposure to fine PM might contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The purpose of the study was to investigate the association between exposure to fine PM and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which is associated with a high risk of progression to AD.
"A study group of 399 women aged 68-79 years who lived for more than 20 years at the same residential address has been assessed for long-term exposure to PM and tested for MCI. The exposure assessment comprised background concentration of PM(10) and traffic-related PM indicated by the distance of the residential address to the next busy road. The women were assessed for MCI by a battery of several neuropsychological tests and their odor identification ability. Consistent effects of traffic-related air pollution exposure on test performances including a dose-response relation were found. The associations were adjusted for potential confounders using regression analysis. These results indicate that chronic exposure to traffic-related PM may be involved in the pathogenesis of AD." For more information see: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez
A Warmer Climate Could Stifle Carbon Uptake by Trees
A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder and others found that longer growing seasons will not lead to greater carbon sequestration as previous studies have suggested. Hu found that smaller snow packs in Spring reduced the amount of water available to trees in late summer and fall. These water-stressed trees were less not as able to convert CO2 into biomass and summer rainfall was not able to make us the difference.
Russell Monson said "Snow is much more effective than rain in delivering water to these forests. If a warmer climate brings more rain this won't offset the carbon uptake potential being lost due to declining snow peaks." Subalpine forests are responsible for an estimated 70% of western U.S. carbon sinks. Subalpine trees such as lodgepole pine, subalpine fir and Engelmann spruce need the snowmelt through out the growing season not just at the beginning of summer. The study is available in the February edition of Global Change Biology. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122377223/abstract
III. New Resources and Opportunities
Profile of Older Americans--2009
This popular brochure contains the latest key statistics on older Americans. It includes both narrative and statistical charts. The 2009 edition is only available online. www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/Aging_Statistics/Profile/2009/docs/2009profile_508.pdf ( About PDF)
The following are some of the highlights of the Profile of Older Americans.
- The population 65 and over will increase from 35 million in 2000 to 40 million in 2010 (a 15% increase) and then to 55 million in 2020 (a 36% increase for that decade).
- The 85+ population is projected to increase from 4.2 million in 2000 to 5.7 million in 2010 (a 36% increase) and then to 6.6 million in 2020 (a 15% increase for that decade).
- The number of Americans aged 45-64 - who will reach 65 over the next two decades - increased by 31% during this decade.
- In 2008, 19.6% of persons 65+ were minorities--8.3% were African-Americans. Persons of Hispanic origin (who may be of any race) represented 6.8% of the older population. About 3.4% were Asian or Pacific Islander, and less than 1% were American Indian or Native Alaskan. In addition, 0.6% of persons 65+ identified themselves as being of two or more races.
- Minority populations are projected to increase from 5.7 million in 2000 (16.3% of the elder population) to 8.0 million in 2010 (20.1% of elders) and then to 12.9 million in 2020 (23.6% of the elders).
- About 3.7 million elders (9.7%) were below the poverty level in 2008 which is not statistically different from the poverty rate in 2007 (9.7%).
- About 471,000 grandparents aged 65 or more had the primary responsibility for their grandchildren who lived with them.
The Purpose Prize provides ten awards of up to $100,000 to innovators in encore careers. The Encore Careers campaign aims to engage millions of boomers in encore careers, providing personal fulfillment doing paid work and producing a windfall of human talent to solve society's greatest problems. The Purpose Prize Program is directed by Civic Ventures and is now in its fifth year. Nominations, including self-nominations, are due March 5, 2010 and can be submitted at www.encore.org/prize
IV. Building Healthy Communities
The 2009 winners of the Building Healthy communities for Active Aging will be announced at the New Partners for Smart Growth annual meeting. The "New Federal Partners for Smart Growth: Leadership to Create Sustainable Communities Across America" plenary will feature U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson (confirmed), U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (confirmed), and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan (invited). These federal leaders will provide a perspective on the federal Sustainable Communities Partnership, which seeks to integrate federal decision-making to promote sustainable, livable communities across the country.
This dynamic Thursday evening session will highlight the challenges and opportunities the three departments have faced during their collaboration and will provide ideas for how local and state leaders can partner with federal government to implement the sustainability principles that guide the Sustainable Communities Partnership's efforts.
There is still time to register. For more information about the conference please see www.newpartners.org/
V. Pharmaceuticals in the Environment
Settlements to Stop 5 Healthcare Facilities from Disposing of Pharmaceutical Wastes into NYC Watershed
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced on January 12, 2010 groundbreaking settlements with five health care facilities located in the New York City Watershed to immediately end the practice of disposing of pharmaceutical waste into the watershed. The agreements announced today are the first-ever settlements requiring sources of pharmaceutical releases to end this risky disposal practice.
The five facilities are located in Delaware and Putnam Counties and within the New York City Watershed, an almost 2000 square mile area that drains into reservoirs and lakes providing drinking water to eight million residents of New York City and one million people living in Westchester, Putnam, Ulster, and Orange Counties. The practice of flushing unused pharmaceuticals allows for the release of painkillers, antibiotics, anti-depressants, hormones and other waste drugs into the watershed - the drinking water supply for almost half the state's residents. To date, only trace amounts of pharmaceuticals have been found in the New York City drinking water supply.
"The 9 million people who get their water from the New York City Watershed enjoy some of the cleanest, safest and best water in the world," said Attorney General Cuomo. "We need to make sure it stays that way. These ground breaking settlements provide a new model to implement immediate and sensible precautions to keep waste drugs out of the drinking water supply."
The settlements arise from a broad, ongoing investigation by Cuomo's office into the pharmaceutical waste management practices of hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities located within the New York City watershed. Today's settlements include: O'Connor Hospital, located in Delhi, Delaware County; Margaretville Memorial Hospital, located in Margaretville, Delaware County; Mountainside Residential Care Center, a nursing home located in Margaretville, Delaware County; Countryside Care Center, a nursing home located in Delhi, Delaware County; and Putnam Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home located in Holmes, Putnam County. All of these facilities cooperated with the investigation. www.ag.ny.gov/media_center/2010/jan/jan12a_10.html
Health Care Industry Study on Unused Pharmaceuticals
EPA recently published in the Federal Register the Notice of Availability of Preliminary 2010 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan and is requesting comment on, a preliminary plan for reviewing effluent guidelines, which are regulations that improve water quality by controlling discharges from industrial sources.
Effluent guidelines are national regulations that control the discharge of pollutants to surface waters and to publicly owned treatment works. Effluent guidelines are specific to an industry. EPA writes effluent guidelines for all types of industrial discharges -- from manufacturing, agricultural, and service industries.
The effluent guidelines program is one of EPA's most successful environmental protection programs. Effluent guidelines have helped reverse the water quality degradation that accompanied industrialization in this country. EPA has already issued effluent guidelines for 56 industries. These regulations have prevented the discharge of more than 700 billion pounds of pollutants each year.
These regulations reduce the discharge of pollutants that have serious environmental impacts, including pollutants that: kill or impair fish and other aquatic organisms; cause health problems through contaminated water, fish, or shellfish; and degrade aquatic ecosystems.
EPA publishes a final Effluent Guidelines Plan every even year as is required by Section 304(m) of the Clean Water Act. Prior to publishing the final Plan, EPA must publish a preliminary Plan and take public comment. Comments from the public are due 02/26/10. This notice also provides a status update on three studies supporting the Agency's review of effluent guidelines: Coalbed Methane Extraction, Unused Pharmaceutical Management in the Health Care Industry, and Ore Mining and Dressing. For more details, check out our webpage. www.epa.gov/waterscience/guide/304m/index.html
VI. Intergenerational Activities
The Aging Initiative List Serve will feature a new section of the monthly listserve that will highlight intergenerational projects and have invited stories that are written by the participants. These short excerpts will be written by an elder, a youth or by an intergenerational team. This new section will e called "In their Own Words." If you are involved in an intergenerational environmental project and want to share this with the list serve, please send an email to email@example.com
Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team
In 2002, the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and AmeriCorps*VISTA created the Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team, an innovative partnership designed to bring environmental and economic improvement to communities. State by state, watershed by watershed, partnership by partnership, volunteer watershed groups are building on a deep tradition of hard work and close ties to community, to their land, and to a place, a watershed, they call home. These are the new stewards of one of America's most ravaged and perhaps its most challenging environmental frontier. A region with a vast ecosystem of people, land, and water, all ready to be reclaimed and returned to both environmental and economic health. These watershed groups and their OSM/VISTA volunteers are pioneering in a land of hardy mountain pioneers. Their approach is grassroots at its strongest. This growing partnership is quietly bringing new strength and new hope to coal country. www.osmre.gov/aml/vista/vista.shtm
In their Own Words
Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team (ACCWT)
Schuylkill Headwaters Association (SHA) is a small local watershed group working to remediate acid mine drainage issues in the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania. To date, the organization has been very successful in acquiring grants to construct a number of treatment systems. SHA is also very adept at networking and partnering with many agencies and organizations to fulfill its mission.
Unfortunately, all of this success has not led to local citizen participation. Two years ago, under the Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team program, a young lady came to our county as an OSM/VISTA. She quickly discovered the need to stress the importance of community outreach and awareness and she encouraged and guided us to be more proactive in developing a community-wide presence. During 2009, SHA secured its own OSM/VISTA and developed marketing and public outreach plans. We are now using these plans to develop projects and chart a course for public involvement. Partnering with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program to enlist senior citizens to do water quality monitoring at our acid mine drainage treatment systems and organizing the first Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative project in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania are just two examples of this community involvement.
Bill Reichert, President
Schuylkill Headwaters Association
VISTA Volunteer to Blue Ridge Watershed Group
The Blue River Watershed Group got their OSM/VISTA volunteer just over a year ago. Since then, our first OSM/VISTA, Cora McCold raised over $16,900 for our community/watershed group. The funds she raised are being used partly to employ me as a part-time Executive Director, a role I just recently took on. The work she has done in one year has surpassed our expectations and made our group more sustainable, in turn aiding water quality improvements, environmental awareness, and economic development in our community. She engaged 10 seniors (aged 55 and up) and 14 Baby Boomers (community members born from 1946-1954) in our small community and surrounding communities in volunteer work with our group. In addition to this, she brought the Wild and Scenic Film Festival to our Community, raising awareness and funds!
Our second OSM/VISTA, John Hagan, started his year of service in our group this month, and I look forward to working with him as his Supervisor and am excited to see the progress we will make in another year.
Blue River Watershed Group
VII. EPA Funding Opportunities
Increasing Scientific Data on the Fate, Transport and Behavior of Engineered Nanomaterials in Selected Environmental and Biological Matrices
EPA, as part of its Science to Achieve Results program, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture NIFA of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are seeking applications proposing research to provide data that improves the scientific understanding of fate/transport and behavior of engineered nanomaterials. Deadline: February 2, 2010. Read more...
National Network for Environmental Management Studies Fellowship Program
The purpose of the National Network for Environmental Management Studies Fellowship Program program is to 1) Provide students with practical research opportunities and experiences in EPA's program and regional offices and in its laboratories; 2) Increase public awareness of and involvement in environmental issues; 3) Encourage qualified individuals to pursue environmental careers; and 4) Help defray the costs associated with the pursuit of academic programs related to the field of environmental protection, such as pollution control. Deadline: February 5, 2010. Read more...
Activities that Advance Methane Recovery and Use as a Clean Energy Source
This notice announces the availability of funds and solicits proposals for investigation, survey, study, training, and demonstration projects (eligible projects) that advance international near-term, cost-effective methane recovery and use as a clean energy source, and support the goals of the Methane to Markets Partnership. This funding opportunity is only for international activities in support of the Methane to Markets Partnership. Deadline: April 15, 2010. Read more...
VIII. Other Funding Opportunities
Geographic and Contextual Influences on Energy Balance-Related Health Behaviors (R01)
This announcement invites applications for investigator-initiated projects concerned with the influence of the built environment, "contextual" environment (where people live, work and play), and health-related behavior on the individual's energy balance and, therefore, on health. There is clear evidence of a strong association between diet, exercise, body weight (i.e. the "energy balance") and a variety of chronic ("metabolic") diseases. A number of environmental features can affect energy balance such as density, diversity, design and accessibility of buildings. Socioeconomic status of residents, amenities such as transportation, accessible parks and pathways for walking and cycling - all of those and others can influence energy balance-related behavior. Studies are needed to evaluate all of those factors. Deadline: February 5, 2010. Read more...
Environmental Health Sciences Core Center Grants (P30)
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences announces the availability of Core Center Grants (P30) that are intended to provide core resources and shared facilities to groups of investigators located in a single institution or in several cooperating institutions. In addition, the Core center grant mechanism is designed to promote cooperation and collaboration among groups of established researchers who are independently conducting research of high quality that is related to the effects of environmental factors on human health. The Center is also expected to foster training and mentoring of young scientists, junior faculty, and clinician-scientists in the environmental health sciences in order to build careers in environmental health. Deadline: March 31, 2010 Read more...
IX. Public Comments Requested
New Proposed EPA rule for Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Sulfur Dioxide
On November 16, the EPA opened to public comment the new proposed EPA rule for Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Sulfur Dioxide. To learn more about the rule got to: www.epa.gov/air/sulfurdioxide/actions.html
The EPA is accepting comments for 60 days following the date of publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. The easiest ways to submit comments are through www.regulations.gov or email a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov (reference Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0352).
Interim Soil Dioxin PRG Outreach
In May 2009, Administrator, Lisa P. Jackson decided that EPA needs to accelerate work underway to reassess the human health risks from exposures to dioxin. EPA's Science Plan for Activities Related to Dioxins in the Environment (2009)(1) details a plan, with interim milestones, for completion of the Agency's dioxin reassessment. By the end of 2010, EPA expects to complete the dioxin reassessment and release it to the public, subject to further consideration of the science and the scope and complexity of the revisions that will need to be made.
EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) will be reviewing current dioxin cleanup guidance set by the Agency and other entities, with the goal of recommending interim preliminary remediation goals (PRGs) informed by the latest science. (PRGs are chemical-specific concentration goals for specific media (e.g. soil, sediment, water and air) and land use combinations at Superfund, Federal Facilities, Brownfields and RCRA sites. They serve as a target to use during the initial development, analysis, and selection of cleanup alternatives.)
These interim recommended PRGs would be used until EPA issues its dioxin reassessment and OSWER issues final recommended PRGs based on the reassessment. Comments due February, 2010. For more information see: www.epa.gov/superfund/policy/remedy/sfremedy/remedies/dioxininterimplan.html
X. 2010 Calendar of Events & Meetings
New Partners for Smart Growth: Smart Growth in Small Towns
February 1-3, 2010
New Partners for Smart Growth Annual Meeting
February 4-6, 2010
Active for Life Annual Conference Annual Meeting
Feb 9-11, 2010
San Diego, CA
Association of Gerontology in Higher Education Annual Meeting
March 4 - 7, 2010
American Society on Aging/National Council on Aging Annual Meeting
Date: March 15-19, 2010
Location: Chicago, Ill
Call for Abstracts
American Public Health Association Annual Meeting
Date: November 6-10, 2010
Location: Denver, CO
The theme for the conference this year is "Social Justice: A public health imperative." Public health professionals interested in presenting research at next year's Annual Meeting and Exposition can submit abstracts beginning on December 18. Visit APHA's website, www.apha.org/meetings for updates and information on the program. Submission dates are between February 1-5, 2010 and vary by APHA Section. www.apha.org/meetings/sessions/HowtobecomeaPresenter.htm
Gerontological Society of America
The online abstract submission process for The Gerontological Society of America's 63rd Annual Meeting is now open! Please read all of the instructions provided throughout the online submission process. Please visit http://www.geron.org/abstracts for instructions and a link to the submission form. The submission deadline is March 15, 2010.