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, and 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. 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. You can check the Missouri Food Code for food establishments for more information.
A Certified Food Protection Manager Exam is proctored at the Health Department, and advanced scheduling is required. A couple of ways to achieve knowledge are through online educational venues, as self-paced training 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 foodborne illness. Check MO DHSS and FDA for food recall information.
Food safety relates to everyone and is often a concern with food that inherently has bacteria associated with products, such as raw milk. To learn more about raw milk, visit CDC raw milk Q and A and Real Raw Milk Facts
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has provided guidance on Missouri home-based kitchen food production. This discusses numerous topics such as food safety basics, regulation of food in Missouri, Missouri Cottage Law, food code exemptions, Raw Agriculture Commodities, and inspection questions.
Canned food can be important to keep at room temperature, avoid storing them at extreme temperatures, and eat before the expiration date. Check out the pocket guide to canned food defects for more safety information.
Fish advisories are published by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the EPA. 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. You can view a map of fish advisories in the state of Missouri to determine any health risks in your region.
In the event of distressed and/or adulterated foods and pharmaceuticals, fire, flood, weather, and highway accidents, 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 of 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 48 hours 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.
Indoor air quality issues
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, tasteless, and poisonous gas that can be from places like automobile engine exhaust, portable propane heaters, furnaces, water heaters, wood-burning fireplaces, and grills. Carbon monoxide can be detected in the home by installing a carbon monoxide alarm in your home.
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, 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
The EPA has useful information about mold and how to clean mold in your home.
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 the 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. For more information, go to the citizen’s guide to radon.
You can request a free radon testing kit from the state of Missouri to test the radon levels in your home.
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. Check out the EPA’s Top Ten Tips to Prevent or Control Bed Bugs
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 treatment 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 an 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, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is the regulatory authority.
Additional OWTS Information
The questions often asked: 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.
- Residential Sewage Lagoon Systems: A Homeowner’s Guide to Installation and Maintenance
- Septic Tank/Absorption Field Systems: A Homeowner’s Guide to Installation and Maintenance
- University of Missouri homeowner guides
- Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS) Owner’s manual
Closing an abandoned septic system
To decrease the risk of personal injury or environmental harm from a septic system that is no longer in use, it is important to take the following steps. First, the septic tank should be pumped by a qualified service professional so that effluent will not seep into the environment of that human contact is minimized. The tank should be removed and the hole filled with soil. Alternatively, the tank should be filled with coarse aggregate or sand. The riser should then be collapsed and filled with soil. A permit is not required for completing septic tank abandonment procedures.
Site soil is a major factor in determining the appropriate system. When a permit is required, a soil morphology report from an accredited Soil Scientist is required to assist the contractor in installing the proper system. Check for the general soil types in the county and use it as a reference point, not a final determination 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.