Category Archives: Greater Oroville

BEC Investigates Dioxin in Oroville Eggs

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In July of 2011, Community Correspondent Rachelle Parker wrote about Butte Environmental Council’s (BEC) fascinating study assessing dioxin levels in backyard chicken eggs around Oroville. She outlined the history of the Koppers fire which caused dioxin contamination in surrounding soil and the original study by the former California Department of Health Services (CDHS). Dioxin is known for its toxicity and persistence in the environment. BEC recently held a workshop in Oroville about dioxin to educate community members about this issue.

The intention of BEC’s study was to gain a better understanding of the public’s exposure to dioxin by eating backyard chicken eggs. Julia Murphy, Education and Outreach Assistant at BEC, explained that dioxin is linked to a myriad of negative health effects, “from hormone disruption and immune system dysfunction, to birth defects and cancer.” But because we are exposed to dioxin from a variety of sources, it is difficult to draw a straight cause-and-effect line from the source to adverse health effects.

Lunch Time At Palermo School

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With new healthy food standards going into effect this fall, schools across the nation will be required to offer more wholesome foods and reduce unhealthy ones. Palermo Middle School, however, is already ahead of the game.

The USDA’s new school lunch standards stem from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed in 2010. The new requirements limit sodium and trans fats, include more fruit, vegetable, and whole grain servings and replace whole milk with low-fat and non-fat options. The long term objective of improved school nutrition, advocated heavily by Michelle Obama, is decreased childhood obesity.

Butte County Receives an F in Air Quality

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Butte County received a whopping “F” on the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report card for 2011. This grade is calculated by collecting ozone and particulate matter (PM) data from various sites throughout the county. The air monitoring devices which measure these pollutants are located in Chico, Paradise and Gridley, and are operated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Combating Childhood Obesity in Butte County

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In 2005 the rate of obesity for children in middle school in Butte County was 34.41 percent. Today, the rate has risen 0.9% according to a report from the California Center for Public Health Advocacy and UCLA. Cindy Wolff, Director of the Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion (CNAP) at Chico State University, would like to see that rate go down.

Believing that unhealthy food is just too easy to get, Wolff has begun a county-wide program called “Harvest of the Month” that seeks to provide fruits and vegetables as options right along with the grains and potatoes that children are used to seeing on a daily basis in their school lunches.

Norovirus Making the Rounds in Butte County

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If you live in Butte County and have been experiencing vomiting with diarrhea, Kiyomi Bird would like you to stay home until it passes. Kiyomi Bird is the Public Health Program Director for Butte County Communicable Diseases Department. She says lab results have confirmed the presence of norovirus, a very contagious pathogen that is prevalent in winter. Sometimes these symptoms are referred to as the “stomach flu” but there is no such thing, says Bird.