of Health Strategic Plan Goals
Goal 5: Promote healthy and safe
Lead Staff: Ned Therien
Environmental health focuses on the health interrelationships between
people and their environment, and promotes a safe and healthful
environment. Environmental health issues such as food safety, drinking water
quality, and onsite wastewater treatment are foundations of public health.
2009 Five-Year Strategic Plan
identifies three objectives under the goal of
promoting healthy and safe environments:
Assuring Board environmental health rules are doing what they are
designed to do
Promoting school environments that protect human health
Reducing human exposure to environmental toxins.
The Board's priority
environmental health work in 1999-2001 was in the area of
Environmental Justice. For 2001-05 the Board identified
Environmental Health as a priority area. The Environmental Health Committee
followed up on the environmental justice work, surveyed community
assessment processes, reviewed zoonotic disease prevention measures, revised several rules, and responded to citizen inquiries.
Environmental Health Assessment Report
The Board's environmental
justice work found that communities perceive the need for more meaningful
community involvement in addressing environmental health issues. In
response to this finding, the Environmental Health Committee researched
existing processes and models used by local, state, and federal agencies to
resolve environmental health problems with communities. The committee worked with agency and community representatives to evaluate the strengths and
weaknesses of existing processes and recommended how to improve community
Information was summarized and presented in a
report by Board
sponsor Carl Osaki and policy analyst Marianne Seifert at the October 2004
and Exotic Pets Report
The Board participated in a
work group of Department of Health and local health jurisdiction experts in
2003-04 to evaluate public health authority related to diseases
transmissible from animals to humans (zoonoses). This included a review of
public health concerns regarding diseases carried by common pets and exotic
animals. The work group developed four recommendations for the public health
community to help control zoonotic diseases:
1. Develop a zoonotic disease
2. Revise existing Board rules on rabies and psittacosis.
3. Give further consideration to adopting a point-of-sale education
requirement for all reptile sales.
4. Monitor the situation and periodically reevaluate whether additional
regulation is needed.
At its October 2004 meeting,
the Board approved a report sponsored by Chair Thomas Locke, MD, and
prepared by policy analyst Candi Wines titled,
and Exotic Pets: A Public Health Policy Analysis. With the help of the
Department of Health, the Board updated its zoonotic disease rules in
The Board has statutory
authority to adopt rules in several environmental health areas (RCW
43.20.050) and continues to review its rules
periodically. Current rule making activities include:
The Board has held forums for the development of public health policy in
Washington State, and to consider the citizen input gathered at the forums. It is empowered to hold hearings and explore ways to improve the health
status of the citizenry
(RCW 43.20.050 (1).
One area of citizen inquiry
has been regarding indoor air quality in schools. The Board received input on school indoor air quality issues from many
testimony, school district staff, local health jurisdiction staff, the
Healthy Schools Task Force, and others.
The Board directed Board staff to
begin revising Chapter
246-366 WAC in 2004.
The Board adopted major rule revisions in 2009 as Chapter 246-366A WAC. The
new provisions will not be effective until after the Legislature lifts
restriction on implementation due to budget concerns.
Additional information about the process is available on the
Board of Health's rules web page.
Additional Materials and
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