NNLM Reading Club: Environmental Health
Our environment affects our health. If parts of the environment, like the air, water, or soil become polluted, it can lead to health problems. For example, asthma pollutants and chemicals in the air or in the home can trigger asthma attacks. Some environmental risks are a part of the natural world, like radon in the soil. Others are the result of human activities, like lead poisoning from paint, or exposure to asbestos or mercury from mining or industrial use.
Discover more about environmental health at MedlinePlus, a free and easy-to-use online resource of trusted health and wellness information from the National Library of Medicine (NLM).
There's an NIH for that... and more
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
- National Center for Environmental Health
- Environmental Protection Agency
New Book Release
Erin Brockovich, the title character of the feature film starring Julia Roberts who dramatized her true story of fighting the energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and its culpability for the Hinkley groundwater contamination incident, has released a new book.
Superman's Not Coming | Erin Brockovich | Pantheon | 2020 | 384 pages | ISBN: 978-1524746964
Citizen science invites anyone to participate in projects from almost anywhere! SciStarter and NLM have partnered to help scientists answer questions about human and environmental health. At SciStarter.org/nlm, you will find an introduction to citizen science and projects such as Crowd the Tap. Its goal is to identify areas for tap water testing and infrastructure replacement to ensure safe drinking water in the United States.
Explore the Data
The National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network brings together health data and environment data from national, state, and city sources and provides supporting information to make the data easier to understand. The Tracking Network has data and information on environments and hazards, health effects, and population health. Interact with the data by visiting https://ephtracking.cdc.gov/DataExplorer/#/
AirNow reports air quality using the official U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI), a color-coded index designed to communicate whether air quality is healthy or unhealthy for you. The website highlights air quality in your local area first, while still providing air quality information at the state, national, and world views. An interactive map lets you zoom out to get the big picture or drill down to see data for a single air quality monitor. There's even a mobile app for your phone. When you know the AQI in your area, you can take steps to protect your health.
Based on original reporting by a Pulitzer Prize finalist and an industry veteran, Poisoned Water is the first book for young adults about the Flint water crisis. Through interviews with residents and intensive research into legal records and news accounts, journalist Candy J. Cooper, assisted by writer-editor Marc Aronson, reveals the true story of Flint. Poisoned Water shows not just how the crisis unfolded in 2014, but also the history of racism and segregation that led up to it, the beliefs and attitudes that fueled it, and how the people of Flint fought―and are still fighting―for clean water and healthy lives.
Poisoned Water | Candy J Cooper and Marc Aronson | Bloomsbury Children's Books | 256 pages | ISBN: 978-1547602322 | Grade Level 5 - 9
Watch and Discuss
Screen the PBS NOVA special report of the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Poisoned Water uncovers the science behind this manmade disaster— from the intricacies of water chemistry to the biology of lead poisoning to the misuse of science itself. NOVA follows ordinary citizens and independent scientists who exposed the danger lurking in Flint’s water and confronted those who turned a blind eye. Poisoned Water Video Questions
In this touching and often flat-out-funny film, Bag It, we follow "everyman" Jeb Berrier as he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world. What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic and its effect. Bag It Video Questions
NIEHS Speakers Bureau offers opportunities for scientists, technicians, and administrators to speak about a variety of topics in environmental health sciences, as well as educational preparation and career paths. Speakers are also available as judges and/or to participate in science fairs and festivals.
Library Skills Training
NLM Resources for Citizen Scientists
Learn about citizen science library program models, free National Library of Medicine resources to incorporate into citizen science library programs, and sources of funding to explore for buying testing kits or supporting community research efforts. Citizen science library programs are perfect for all ages, and all types of libraries. No prior scientific knowledge is required, simply a willingness to participate!
Disaster Information Specialist Certification
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) provides health information resources and technology for disaster and public health emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. The goal is to connect people to quality disaster health information, foster a culture of community resiliency, and facilitate a network of information professionals and librarians ready to take on the role of "information responder" in their communities and organizations. The NLM Disaster Health offers free online training courses on accessing and using disaster health information, which can be taken for CE credit to earn a Disaster Information Specialist certification.
- NNLM National Health Observances Library Program Kit: Air Quality Awareness Week
- NIEHS Science Education: Climate Change and Human Health Lesson Plans
- Environmental Health Student Portal provides educational materials about environmental issues that can affect health just for middle school students.
NNLM Reading Club Book
Do you want to share this book with your reading group? The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) has made it easy to download the discussion questions and promotional materials and find supporting health information and program ideas.
Discussion Guide for Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America
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Alarmed by her children’s sudden illnesses, Stacey Haney, a local nurse working hard to raise two kids and keep up her small farm when the fracking boom comes to her hometown of Amity, Pennsylvania, joins with neighbors and a committed husband-and-wife legal team to investigate what’s really in the water and air. Against local opposition, Haney and her allies doggedly pursue their case in court and begin to expose the damage that’s being done to the land her family has lived on for centuries. Soon a community that has long been suspicious of outsiders faces wrenching new questions about who is responsible for their fate, and for redressing it: The faceless corporations that are poisoning the land? The environmentalists who fail to see their economic distress? A federal government that is mandated to protect but fails on the job? Drawing on seven years of immersive reporting, Griswold reveals what happens when an imperiled town faces a crisis of values, and a family wagers everything on an improbable quest for justice.
Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America | Eliza Griswold | Picador | 2019 | 336 pages | ISBN: 978-1250215079
Eliza Griswold, a Guggenheim fellow, is the author of a collection of poems,& Wideawake Field (FSG, 2007) and a nonfiction book, The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam (FSG, 2010), a New York Times bestseller that was awarded the J. Anthony Lukas Prize. She has worked with Seamus Murphy in Africa and Asia for more than a decade. She lives in New York City.
NNLM Reading Club Book
Do you want to share this book with your reading group? The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) has made it easy to download the discussion questions and promotional materials and find supporting health information.
Discussion Guide for Plastic: A Toxic Love Story
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Plastic built the modern world. Where would we be without bike helmets, baggies, toothbrushes, and pacemakers? But a century into our love affair with plastic, we’re starting to realize it’s not such a healthy relationship. Plastics draw on dwindling fossil fuels, leach harmful chemicals, litter landscapes, and destroy marine life. As journalist Susan Freinkel points out in this engaging and eye-opening book, we’re nearing a crisis point. We’ve produced as much plastic in the past decade as we did in the entire twentieth century. We’re drowning in the stuff, and we need to start making some hard choices. Freinkel gives us the tools we need with a blend of lively anecdotes and analysis. She combs through scientific studies and economic data, reporting from China and across the United States to assess the real impact of plastic on our lives. She tells her story through eight familiar plastic objects: comb, chair, Frisbee, IV bag, disposable lighter, grocery bag, soda bottle, and credit card. Her conclusion: we cannot stay on our plastic-paved path. And we don’t have to. Plastic points the way toward a new creative partnership with the material we love to hate but can’t seem to live without.
Plastic: A Toxic Love Story | Susan Freinkel | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | 2011 | 336 pages | ISBN: 978-0547152400
Susan Freinkel is a science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Discover Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, and other publications. She is also the author of American Chestnut, a social history of one of America's most common trees.
NNLM Reading Club Book
Do you want to share this book with your reading group? The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) has made it easy to download discussion questions and promotional materials and find supporting health information and program ideas.
Discussion Guide for What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City
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Flint was already a troubled city in 2014 when the state of Michigan—in the name of austerity—shifted the source of its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Soon after, citizens began complaining about the water that flowed from their taps—but officials rebuffed them, insisting that the water was fine. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician at the city’s public hospital, took state officials at their word and encouraged the parents and children in her care to continue drinking the water—after all, it was American tap water, blessed with the state’s seal of approval. But a conversation at a cookout with an old friend, leaked documents from a rogue environmental inspector, and the activism of a concerned mother raised red flags about lead—a neurotoxin whose irreversible effects fall most heavily on children. Even as circumstantial evidence mounted and protests grew, Dr. Mona knew that the only thing that could stop the lead poisoning was undeniable proof—and that to get it, she’d have to enter the fight of her life.
New York Times Notable Book
What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City | Mona Hanna-Attisha MD | OneWorld | 2019 | 384 pages | ISBN: 978-0399590856
Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, FAAP, is a physician, scientist, and activist who has been called to testify twice before the United States Congress, awarded the Freedom of Expression Courage Award by PEN America and named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.