Kids' Regional Environment Health Hotline Established
APRIL 10, 2002
DENVER — Parents who are concerned about their children's exposure to harmful or toxic substances in the environment can now speak to a trained health professional by calling a new free hotline.
The Rocky Mountain Region Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) has recently opened a toll-free, 24-hour, seven-day-a-week hotline designed for parents, kids, teachers and care providers. Callers can ask questions on environmental health concerns such as lead and other heavy metals, pesticides, diesel exhaust, molds and bacteria
"We believe the PEHSU team can improve the health of children in the Rocky Mountain region by providing information, education, and training on environmental health problems," said Mark Anderson, MD, director of the Denver Health Kids Care Clinic and co-director for the Rocky Mountain PEHSU. " We are excited to launch this program, which serves more than nine million people in six states."
Calls to the hotline are answered by nurses and pharmacists trained to evaluate environmental hazards. They ask callers a series of questions about suspected exposures and symptoms to help evaluate the potential hazard. They can then offer preliminary advice and education to callers and send their environmental exposure assessments to the expert panel of PEHSU physicians, who can offer further advice and physician referrals if necessary.
"Children's bodies and minds are especially susceptible to environmental hazards," said Cecile Rose, MD, M.P.H, director of the Environmental and Occupational Clinic at National Jewish Medical and Research Center and co-director of the Rocky Mountain PEHSU. "In the past, most effort has been aimed at protecting workers and adults from potential environmental hazards. Now, we are finally focusing on protecting children."
The toll-free phone number for the Rocky Mountain PEHSU is 1-877-800-5554. Helpful information about the Rocky Mountain PEHSU and environmental hazards can also be found on the Rocky Mountain PEHSU website at http://www.rmrpehsu.org.
The Rocky Mountain PEHSU is a joint collaboration of Denver Health, National Jewish Medical and Research Center and the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center. PEHSU serves the children of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota & South Dakota.
Several Denver physicians serve as resources for this project, including Mark Anderson, MD of Denver Health, Richard Dart MD, PhD of Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Center, Andy Liu, MD of National Jewish, and Cecile Rose, MD, M.P.H. of National Jewish. PEHSU is funded by a grant from the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC) through funding from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The AOEC sponsors a PEHSU in each region of the United States