October 22, 2012

Safe Schools. Pipeline Preparedness.
Approximately one in every 20 schools is located within a half-mile of a transmission pipeline or above ground pipeline facility.

The Pipeline Association for Public Awareness helps schools improve safety planning and readiness through sponsorship of the School Pipeline Safety Partnership. http://www.pipelineawareness.org/schools/

Learn more:
Lessons Learned: Lafayette Indiana Natural Gas Explosion (video)

On November 27, 2002 the Lafayette Fire Department responded to a "routine" gas leak.  Dispatch reported that a construction crew struck a natural gas line while installing a traffic signal light.  At least four separate explosions destroyed four homes that day.  Responders from the Lafayette Fire Department share their experience and key takeaways in the video below including information about how to plan for the unexpected, anticipating migrating gas, proper gear, clear communication and the importance of ICS and advance partnerships with operators.

October 19, 2012

Open Source Training Makes Labs Safer for All

In the summer of 2012, BioRAFT teamed with the New Hampshire IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (NH-INBRE), a collaborative network of 10 two- and four-year colleges within the state, and Dartmouth College Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) to launch LabSafetyWorkspace.org. This online laboratory safety training program provides student scientists and faculty with the knowledge they need to work safely in a lab setting. While launched for New Hampshire-based undergraduate colleges and universities, LabSafetyWorkspace.org is open to scientists worldwide to take introductory safety training courses.
 Occupational Health and Safety Exit NIEHS Website [Author: Nathan Watson]
Thomas Edison's Lab, Greenfield Village, Michigan (E. Goldberg, 2005)

October 16, 2012


EPA is pleased to announce the release of Voluntary Guidelines for States: Development and Implementation of a School Environmental Health Program. The guidelines were mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and were developed in consultation with other federal agencies, states, school officials, and non-profit organizations.

School environments play an important role in the health and academic success of children. Children spend 90% of their time indoors and much of that time is spent in school. Unhealthy school environments can affect children’s health, attendance, concentration, and performance, as well as lead to expensive, time-consuming cleanup and remediation activities.

These voluntary guidelines recommend six steps states can take to build or enhance a school environmental health program. The guidelines also include a model K-12 school environmental health program as a resource that states can customize and share with schools and school districts to help them establish, or enhance an existing, school environmental health program. The model program incorporates EPA’s unique school programs such as Tools for Schools, Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool (Healthy SEAT), ENERGY Star for K-12 Schools and others, to help schools and school districts begin or enhance a comprehensive school environmental health program.

To complement the guidelines release, OCHP will be hosting two webinars in October and November, respectively. 

(1) The first webinar, Why Environmental Health Matters in Schools, will be held on October 17th from 2:00-3:00pm EST. The webinar will feature Larry K. Lowry, PhD, Director of the Southwest Center for Pediatric Environmental Health (SWCPEH) and Director of Graduate Programs in Environmental Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, who will discuss the critical link between students and their environment and how it can affect their performance in school.
(2) The second webinar, Integrated School Health Tools for Districts, will be held on Wednesday November 7th from 2:00-3:00pm EST. This webinar will discuss how schools and school districts can create healthy environments for students by implementing a comprehensive, sustainable environmental health program. The webinar will feature highlights, tips, and strategies from established state programs. 
You can register for both webinars at: https://esbuildings.webex.com/mw0306ld/mywebex/default.do?siteurl=esbuildings
To learn more about the guidelines, please visit our website at www.epa.gov/schools.

October 10, 2012

On Thursday, September 27, 2012 the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) released a 60-page chemical management toolkit to assist Arizona school districts in managing chemicals used at schools.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks responsible chemical management as a top priority for schools, stating that many school buildings "contain environmental conditions that inhibit learning and pose increased risks to the health of children and staff."

English version 

The EPA provides information and resources on its own healthy schools chemical management website.

The EPA video on the SC3 campaign to clean up chemicals in schools provides an in-depth look at the many places chemicals can be found in and outside the chemistry lab, and the process of removal in several schools in the US.

Earth Science Week 2012 (October 14-20)

Explore ‘Big Ideas’ in Award-Winning Videos

AGI now offers award-winning videos and other electronic resources to help students, educators, and others explore the “big ideas” of Earth science during Earth Science Week 2012 (October 14-20) and all year long. AGI’s Big Ideas videos recently won three prestigious awards: Digital Video (DV) Winner in Education, DV Winner in Nature/Wildlife, and Videographer Award of Excellence.

Big Ideas videos are brief video clips that bring to life the big ideas of Earth science - the nine core concepts that everyone should know. The Earth Science Literacy Initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation, has codified these underlying understandings of Earth science which form the basis of the Big Ideas videos.

View the Big Ideas videos on YouTube
or TeacherTube.  The Earth Science Week web site provides related resources. Educators can find dozens of classroom activities to help students build understanding of the “big ideas” online (http://www.earthsciweek.org/forteachers/bigideas/main.html).

Earth Science Week 2012 (October 14-20) 

 2012 Theme

“Discovering Careers in the Earth Sciences,” the theme of Earth Science Week 2012, will boost awareness about the geosciences and the many exciting career and job opportunities in the field.


  • To engage students in discovering the Earth sciences.
  • To remind people that Earth science is all around us.
  • To encourage Earth stewardship through understanding.
  • To motivate geoscientists to share their knowledge and enthusiasm about the Earth.