Emory Report
August 28, 2006
Volume 59, Number 1


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August 28, 2006
Textbook addresses school environmental health and safety

BY alicia lurry

A new book edited and written by leading Emory University School of Medicine physicians and experts, “Safe and Healthy School Environments,” is the first of its kind to address the school environment using the principles of environmental health science.

The book covers issues such as air quality, asbestos, toxic hazards, food, physical activity, violence, transportation, disaster preparedness, health services and program management.

Published by Oxford University Press, the book is designed for parents, teachers, school administrators, school board members and architects to use as a reference for safe school environments.

“This book is written in a very practical manner, with many constructive suggestions to help schools improve,” said toxicologist Robert Geller, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine, medical director of the Georgia Poison Control Center, and director of the Emory Southeast Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU). “It points out the environmental problems troubling schools and what schools can do to improve with limited funding. Overall, this book allows schools to evaluate themselves and create feasible solutions.”

“Safe and Healthy School Environments” approaches the safe school settings from a scientific perspective, with many of the chapters written by experts including pediatricians, architects, child safety experts, and specialists in children’s environmental health.

Geller, who edited the book along with PEHSU colleagues Howard Frumkin, MD, Leslie Rubin, MD, and Janice Nodvin, said the PEHSU has received calls over the years from concerned parents on issues ranging from mold to the management of childhood asthma at school. At the time the book was conceived, quality reference materials on environmental health issues in schools was scarce.

“By making information like this book available to parents, parents can become good team players and advocates for their children’s schools,” Geller said.