Environmental Health Education & Resources

Air

Water

New3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water Toolkit (EPA)

NewEnsuring Drinking Water Quality in Schools During and After Extended Closures (EPA)

New USGS groundwater study of naturally-occurring radioactive elements in Broadwater, Deer Lodge, Jefferson, Lewis & Clark, Madison, Powell, and Silver Bow Counties

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with Jefferson County and the Jefferson Valley Conservation District, sampled groundwater in southwestern Montana to understand the locations and concentrations of naturally-occurring radioactive elements that are of human health concern, including uranium, radon, radium, and polonium. Researchers collected 168 samples from 128 wells within Broadwater, Deer Lodge, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Madison, Powell, and Silver Bow Counties from 2007 through 2010. Most wells were used for domestic purposes and were primary sources of drinking water for individual households.

Analysis of the data showed that nearly 41% of sampled wells had at least one radioactive substance with a concentration greater than the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA’s) drinking water standard or screening level. These higher concentrations occurred in five of the six generalized geologic units in the USGS study area, with exceedances seen most frequently in well water sampled from the granite rocks of the Boulder batholith. To see specific groundwater results, locations, and maps, follow the link provided above to the USGS study report.

Some wells from the USGS study also contained arsenic concentrations above the EPA standard for human health. For more information on statewide arsenic levels refer to the statewide arsenic map below.


Environmental Health & Children

Did you know?...Children are uniquely vulnerable to harm from exposures to environmental agents where they live, learn, and play.

  • Physiologically, children are not just small adults.
  • Their rates of breathing and breathing zones are different than adults.
  • Their metabolic rates are higher relative to their size.
  • They have a larger ratio of surface area to body mass.
  • Their exposure potential is increased by behaviors such as crawling, mouthing hands and objects, and other hand to mouth behaviors.

These and other physiological differences, combined with rapid body development, can make children more vulnerable when exposed to environmental contaminants.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) Policy Statement on Children’s Environmental Health urges all sectors of society to help protect children and minimize the risk of health impacts like childhood cancer. To learn more about preventing childhood cancer, review this APHA Cancer Factsheet.

Lead in Schools

Children are the most susceptible to lead exposure and spend a large amount of their childhood in schools. Most lead in school drinking water results from corrosion of older plumbing materials containing lead. DPHHS is partnering with Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to provide sampling and remediation technical assistance and guidance to schools. To find out more about the Lead in Schools Program including: background information, program goals/requirements, school lead results and more, visit DEQ's Lead in Schools page. You can also click the interactive DEQ Lead in Schools Map below, to view school lead sampling data.

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