200429 Water we drink: PHN knowledge, attitudes & behaviors related to water quality and safety

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 10:30 AM

Cherie Rector, PhD, RN, PHN , Department of Nursing, California State Universty, Bakersfield, Visalia, CA
Kathleen L. Gilchrist, PhD, FNP-C, CCRN , Department of Nursing, California State University, Bakersfield, Bakersfield, CA
Background: In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) reduced the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for arsenic in drinking water from 50 to 10 mcg/L. Research has demonstrated that the adverse health effects related to high arsenic levels in drinking water include higher incidences of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease, hematologic and neurologic disorders, renal disease, various cancers (notably skin, lung, bladder), and fetal loss, as well as developmental anomalies and infant death. In 2008, 11 California public water systems were cited for not complying with new arsenic standards. Some wells in Central California counties have high levels of naturally occurring arsenic. In addition, this is an agricultural area---producing fruit/vegetable/nut crops and dairy products, as well as their concomitant byproducts (nitrates, pesticides, herbicides, etc.) that can contaminate ground water. Yet, how much do PHNs know about ground water contaminants? Methods: The purpose of this study is to examine their level of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to drinking water quality and adverse health effects of arsenic exposure. PHNs in three counties are surveyed regarding knowledge of their county's drinking water contaminants, adverse health effects that can result from exposure, and signs and symptoms that may require additional investigation. Further, attitudes and behaviors related to assessment and education of clients regarding sources of drinking water, and collaboration with other public health professionals to ensure safe drinking water are examined. Results and Conclusions will be reported at the close of data collection.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of PHNs in relation to water quality issues in their county. Identify at least two reported adverse health effects associated with arsenic exposure through drinking water.

Keywords: Environmental Health Hazards, Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Co-investigator
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.