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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 15, 1987)
Thursday, January 15, 1987
Am ominiee off prevention
Environmental health hazards found indoors, out
By Kip Fry
The role of the environmental health profes
sional is prevention, a national health official
said at the annual meeting of the Lincoln
Lancaster County Board of Health Tuesday night.
"We need to see if there is not a better way of
getting this done," said Vernon N. Houk, director
of the Center for Environmental Health at the
Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Ga.
While the health of the nation is in pretty good
shape, he said, the population is still dependent
upon public health workers.
People get contradictory advice about health
issues, so they become confused, he said.
"It is time for us scientific people to begin to
communicate and do a lot of talking," Houk said,
"and we don't do very much communicat ing."
People need to be prepared for man made
disasters such as the toxic chemical spill at
Bhopal, India, and the nuclear power accident in
Chernobyl, Soviet Union.
"It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when,"
Houk said. In both those places, there was "very
lousy planning" before and after, he said. These
things can happen here, Houk said.
Such matters not only concern safety, but,
Houk said, they also threaten the security of the
"There will be no money left over for anything
else, including providing for a defense," he said.
Many other accidents also can be prevented,
Houk said. While 60,000 deaths per year are .
intentional, such as murder and suicide, half of
Farm Aid meeting
tonight; all invited
A meeting for all interested in helping to
organize the FarmAid III concert will be today at
8:30 p.m. in the Regency Suite of the Nebraska
Group organizer Jay Mulligan, UNL senior
journalism major, said that although the deci
sion to hold the concert in Lincoln has not been
made, the meeting will show that there is
support for the concert.
The meeting will update people on the project
and give ideas of what can be done to organize
for the concert.
all unintentional injuries are car related, he
said. Half of those are alcohol related. Houk said,
however, that it is becoming more socially unac
ceptable in the United States to combine drink
ing and driving.
Another problem that Houk said concerns him
is indoor air pollution.
Because 75 percent of all breathing is done
indoors, substances such as asbestos, formalde
hyde, carbon monoxide and radon must be elim
inated, Houk said. Radon is a radioactive gas
that comes naturally from ground and water and
causes 5,000 deaths each year from lung cancer.
In some buildings, Houk said, radon is so heavy
that breathing it equals smoking two packs of
cigarettes a day.
Fertilizer runoff and the remains of agricultu
ral fumigation are also important issues for rural
regions such as Nebraska.
"Agrichemicals in this part of the country are
essential for the production of foods, but it is not
essential to be overused," Houk said.
Other accidents can be prevented in the
household with changes in regulations, Houk
added. Banning cords longer than 18 inches on
all electrical appliances, and making sure that
water heaters don't go above 1 10 degrees, which
can easily burn people, would help prevent
mishaps, he said.
"We can prevent a lot of the damage before it's
done," Houk concluded, "and as a consequence,
we'll have a healthier home, we'll have a health
ier environment, we'll have a healthier attitude,
and we'll be able to do the things that may be
more important than taking care of sick people."
Tip leads to arrest
in pipe-bomb incident
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Crime
Stoppers bourd has proved a $300 re
ward for a telephone tip that lead to the
recovery cf six unexpleded ripe bombs in
a ditch in northwest Lincoln Dec. 15.
Two boys, 14 and 15, were arrested in
the case, which also involved the discov-,
ery of an unexploded pipe bomb in an
office in Ferguson Hall and the pipe
bombing of a Chevrolet Blazer in the Air
Police have said that the bomb found in
Ferguson Hill e-p.ircr.tJy was unknow
ingly drc:; C rir.s tha sU? vi U'r; ! r
izir 1 of several cD-ccs at UNL.
' ? j .
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