Our Environmental Public Health Specialist (EPHS) supports disease prevention by promoting safe and healthy environmental conditions throughout the community for the benefit of all residents and visitors. Environmental Services may include inspections and or consultation regarding; food safety/food service establishments, lodging, childcare facilities, private drinking water, domestic onsite wastewater treatment systems, and indoor air quality. Additionally, the EPHS assists the communicable disease nurse in addressing animal bites and rabies testing. Links supporting additional technical information are included in the general topic descriptions below.
Food Inspections and Food Safety
The Macon County Health Department performs food inspections under the authority of the State of Missouri. We assist with food safety consultations, education, and we inspect food establishments, mobile food units, and temporary food events open to the public. Food establishments include; restaurants, taverns, grocery stores, convenience stores, and other food retail environments. A food establishment plan review is conducted for new facilities and major remodels. Application link for food establishments related to new facilities and major remodels http://health.mo.gov/safety/foodsafety/pdf/580-3058.pdf. Deficiencies marked during inspections may be categorized as priority or core items. The categories define an associated risk to the factors that lead to food-borne illness and establish correction timeliness for deficiencies observed. Missouri Food Code link http://health.mo.gov/safety/foodsafety/pdf/missourifoodcode.pdf
A Certified Food Protection Manager Exam is proctored at the Health Department, advanced scheduling is required. A couple of ways to achieve knowledge are through online educational venues, as self-paced training at https://www.statefoodsafety.com/ or by purchasing the National Restaurant Association “ServSafe” Course Book (available at the Health Department). Manager Classes are intended for chefs, supervisors, and leaders for $100.00 and include the price of one examination session. Our Basic Food Handler Class provides food handlers with fundamental food safety training and exam for $20.00 per person.
The Macon County Health Department’s Environmental Specialist conducts routine and follow-up inspections year-round. If you have questions regarding food safety or inspections, please call 660-395-4711.
Food recalls are generally associated with food or ingredients that may be unsafe for human consumption. This may also relate to improper labeling or lack of declaration of an allergen. Food may have been tested for contamination or bacteria related to a food-borne illness. Below are two links that announce food recalls.
Food safety relates to everyone and is often a concern with food that inherently has bacteria associated with products, such as raw milk. Attached below are three links associated with educating individuals about the risk of consuming raw milk.
Fish advisories are published by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Recommendations are made for all bodies of water where fish are caught with additional reference based on fish monitoring throughout the state. Consumption recommendations are made based on various health risks. The links provide detailed information regarding the current fish advisory.
Distressed and or Adulterated Foods and Pharmaceuticals, Fire, Flood, Weather, Highway Accidents involving items.
In these events, it is the responsibility of environmental health personnel to assess the condition of any food, drugs, cosmetics or medical devices involved in such incidents and to make sound decisions based on public health policies and procedures.
Responding to events and addressing distressed items for human consumption or use. Section 196.030, RSMo mandates the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and its representatives to embargo foods, drugs, cosmetics, or medical devices that are involved in suspected adulteration or misbranding, as a result of a transportation incident or other natural/manmade event or disaster.
Response and evaluation are conducted, as soon as possible, after accidents, truck wrecks, train derailments, fires, floods, back-up of sewage in a facility, extended interruption of power or water service, or when other natural/manmade disasters occur. Every effort is made to limit the amount of product that is embargoed (i.e. removed from commerce).
The Macon County Health Department answers lead-related questions and educates community members on the environmental hazards of lead exposure. Lead is a poisonous metal that was once commonly used in paint, toys, ceramics, and more. It may still be found in cosmetics, batteries, and other items. If your home was built before 1978, your structure may contain lead paint on walls, doors, windows, and more. Click here for additional information on lead from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
According to the EPA, children under 6 years of age, pregnant women, and unborn fetuses face the highest risk in lead poisoning. Symptoms of lead poisoning might include fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramps, muscle weakness, headaches, and other symptoms.
The Macon County Health Department performs lead testing. If you are concerned about lead or have additional questions, please call 660-395-4711 for more information.
The Environmental Public Health Specialist inspects lodging facilities making assessments of Drinking Water Supply, Wastewater Handling, Sanitation/Housekeeping, Life Safety, Fire Safety, Swimming Pools/Spas, Plumbing, and Mechanical, Heating/Venting, and Air Conditioning Equipment. Where local/municipal ordinances exist with regulatory requirements; municipal regulatory authority requirements are accepted by the Health Department. This is accomplished by receiving correspondence approving the specific condition or discrepancy. Where applicable lodging inspections are conducted in conjunction with local Fire Inspectors. Those establishments meeting the sanitation and safety standards outlined in the lodging rule, 19 CSR 20-3.050, receive an approved inspection report. Re-inspections are conducted as needed.
The Macon County Health Department is happy to assist those patrons planning a trip or looking for lodging by providing the following lists of licensed and unlicensed establishments in the state of Missouri. Click on any of the links below for more information.
Animal Bites/Rabies Testing
Please notify the Macon County Health Department of all animal bites and exposure to bats. Persons bitten or potentially exposed to rabies or their guardian are encouraged to contact the health department within 48hours and as soon as possible is preferred. Our trained health specialists are here for post-exposure consultation and referrals for treatment options. We also coordinate testing for rabies on animals. To set up an appointment for review and possible testing, please contact us at 660-395-4711. Testing is at the discretion of the health department and not all specimens meet the requirements. Fees may apply.
Ticks are common in Missouri and are known to transmit diseases to humans. Below are links to assist in taking steps to prevent tick-borne diseases.
Mold and Moisture in Your Home
Mold is found both indoors and outdoors and is present everywhere – in the air and on surfaces. Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, heating, and air conditioning systems, etc. Mold will then grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects or none at all depending on a person’s sensitivity. For those who are sensitive, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritations, coughing or wheezing, eye and in some cases skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more serious reactions.
Things you can do inside your home to control mold growth are:
- Maintain humidity levels between 40% and 60%
- Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes
- Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding
- Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas
For more information on mold and how to clean the mold up, click on the Mold Guide link at the bottom.
This website provides guidance about mold and moisture for homes, schools, multifamily, and commercial buildings. Molds can have a big impact on indoor air quality.
Radon is considered to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Radon is a gaseous radioactive element that occurs from the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Radon becomes a risk indoors because as it continues to break down, it emits atomic particles that can alter DNA and increase lung cancer risk upon entering the lungs. Radon can be tested and measured in pCi/L (picocuries per liter) and there are estimated risks to health from the exposure depending on the concentration. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MO DHSS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend that if the concentration of radon is 4 pCi/L or greater, then remediation should be done to lower risk.
MO DHSS is currently offering free radon kits for citizens by clicking on the free radon kit link at the bottom and filling out the form. Also for more information go to the citizens guide to radon.
Missouri information Free Test Kit Registration http://health.mo.gov/living/environment/radon/
Bed bugs may be difficult to identify. They may be accidentally moved and spread within clothing, suitcases, furniture, or other belongings. Often red itchy welts are an indication of a bed bug infestation and affected areas on the body may include the ankles, neckline, under the arms, or anywhere skin is exposed while sleeping as the insects are dormant during the day. Wash bite areas with antiseptic soap to reduce the risk of any infection and contact your doctor for an appointment if the welts appear to worsen. Additional information may be found at https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs. Top Ten Tips to Prevent or Control Bed Bugs https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/top-ten-tips-prevent-or-control-bed-bugs
The rights & responsibilities of landlords & tenants: http://www.ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/publications/landlord-tenantlaw.pdf?sfvrsn=4
On-Site Wastewater Treatments Systems (OWTS)
The Macon County Environmental Public Health Specialist consults Macon County property owners to include prospective buyers and sellers regarding on-site wastewater treatments systems and related standards; State of Missouri Laws 701.025 through 701.059 and associated regulations 19CSR 20-3.060 to 20-3.080 .
Occasionally Macon County Health Department receives a formal complaint regarding an OWTS from an aggrieved party or adjacent landowner. The Macon County Health Department is required by law to notify and make assessment or reported OWTS deficiency to determine if the system is in violation of the “701” law. The system is required to meet the rules promulgated pursuant to sections 701.025 to 701.059, including provisions relating to the construction, operation, major modification, and major repair of on-site disposal systems, when all points of the system are located in excess of ten feet from any adjoining property line and no effluent enters an adjoining property, contaminates surface waters or groundwater or creates a nuisance as determined by a readily available scientific method.
When a permit to modify or construct is required or after a violation notice regarding OWTS(s) is issued Missouri Department of Health Senior Services is the regulatory authority.
Additional OWTS Information
The questions often ask; what system do I put in and how? As there are several factors that relate to the decision as to what system is best suited? Consulting a registered on-site wastewater treatment system installer is a great first step.
All state-registered installers are recognized in Macon County as state rules apply. Below is a map link listing those that have expressed interest in working in Macon County. Click on the county outline to see the list.
DHSS OWTS general information http://health.mo.gov/living/environment/onsite/index.php
Site soil is a major factor is determining the appropriate system. When a permit is required Soil morphology report from an accredited Soil Scientist is required to assist the contractor in installing the proper system. The link below is a reference point for the general soil types in the county and is used as a reference and not final determinations as to which system to install.
Helpful Steps: zoom in on the map to the desired location, select the AIO in the map toolbar, draw the area shape, select the soil data explorer, select sanitary facility in the drop-down on the right-hand side of the screen, select either the absorption field or lagoon and observe the rating suitability.
State of Missouri Health and Environmental Agencies