Be Fish Smart in San Francisco Bay

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We are so lucky to be able to catch and eat fresh seafood from the San Francisco Bay, but does it always make a healthy dinner?

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Dispose of Medicine Safely

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safemeds-3788-merchantThere are now over 20 locations where you can go to get rid of unwanted or expired medicine!

Find a location near you that now includes local pharmacies at smchealth.org/RxDisposal. Don’t see your local pharmacy on the list of collection locations? Ask the owner or manager to join the MED-Project Safe Disposal Program to make medicine disposal more convenient for you and your neighbors!

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5 Ways to Reduce Hazardous Waste

Here are five ways to reduce the amount of hazardous waste generated in your home and the time you have to spend disposing of it.

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1. Clean Safer
You don’t bake with bleach, but did you know you don’t have to clean with it either? Many ingredients you cook with can also be used to clean your home. Think lemon, vinegar, and baking soda. For cleaning recipes, visit: smchealth.org/safercleaning

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2. Rethink Pesticides
Swap toxic pesticides for less-toxic alternatives. Look for this logo when purchasing pest control products at your local hardware store. For more information, visit: ourwaterourworld.org

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3. Ask for Re-Refined
When getting your next oil change, ask for re-refined oil. Re-refined oil is used motor oil that has been given a new life by being recycled and reprocessed. It’s even better than virgin oil because it saves the planet from having to deplete a non-renewable natural resource: fossil fuels.

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4. Purchase Rechargeables
Save thousands of single-use batteries by switching a few out for the rechargeable variety. Rechargeable batteries may cost more upfront, but last longer and can save you money in the long run.

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5. Look into LEDs
The next time your light burns out, consider switching to more energy efficient and mercury-free LED lights. LEDs also last longer than compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

Dispose of Hazardous Waste Properly
Used, expired, unwanted, or leftover hazardous products don’t belong in the trash. Visit: smchealth.org/hhw to find out where these items go.

Because Pretty Shouldn’t Stink

Does your favorite nail salon have one of these?

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Certified Healthy Nail Salons that provide acrylic nail services in San Mateo County do!

The filtration system allows you to breathe easier knowing it’s there to protect your health by reducing hazardous fumes and dust that are emitted from chemicals in acrylic powders and liquids, nail polishes, and removers.

For over three years, San Mateo County has continued to partner with certified salons by providing a filtration system and continuing education on how to protect everyone’s health while in the salon.

Today the Program proudly recognizes 14 salons in the County and over 100 salons throughout the state of California, and the number of certified salons
keeps growing.

Is your go-to salon not certified? Give us a call, and we’ll help your salon “get the
stink out” by asking them to join the Healthy Nail Salon Program for free at (650) 339 9526.

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For a complete list of certified salons, and to get text or email discounts to a certified salon of up to $5 off, visit smchealth.org/healthynails

Reduce Hazardous Waste in Your Life

reducinghhwEach time you make an appointment to drop-off household hazardous waste through San Mateo County’s program you are protecting the environment. However, we all recognize it can be a burden to sort and shuffle all that waste into your car, make an appointment, and then drive to get rid of it! But what if we told you there was a way to reduce the amount of drop-off trips while also protecting the environment? Good news, there is a way!

If you reduce the amount of hazardous materials you purchase, the less waste you accumulate, and the less trips you have to make! Not only does it make your life more convenient, it’s safer, may save some cash, and does even more to save the environment.

Today there are so many less-toxic alternatives to replace products that end up as hazardous waste. Here are some to consider….

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Stay Merry with these Nine Safe Holiday Food Tips

img_8909Follow these tips to stay food safe this holiday season whether you are making a Christmas ham, Kwanzaa jerk chicken or Hanukkah latkes.

  1. Use a chafing dish to keep hot foods at (+135°F) or above.
  2. Use ice bowls to keep food cold (-41°F).
  3. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of preparation.
  4. Reheat leftovers quickly and thoroughly to 165°F.
  5. Bake cookies according to instructions It’s temping, but don’t eat the raw dough!
  6. Prevent colds from spreading to your food. Keep sticky fingers out of the kitchen and cover foods if possible.
  7. Wash all fresh produce before cutting or consuming.
  8. Wash your hands before, during and after food prep.
  9. If frying foods, be aware of the cooking times needed to make sure food are fully cooked and ready for consumption. Find out where to properly dispose of the cooking oil after use here.

What food tips or recipes do you have to share with us? Comment below!

Happy Holidays from Environmental Health Services!

Healthy Nail Salon Program Wins Harvard’s Roy Award

148124317831308San Mateo County’s Healthy Nail Salon Program Coordinator, Kathryn Cooke, ventured to Boston in November to accept the 2016 Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnership given by Harvard University on behalf of the County.

The program is a partnership between nail salons, the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, Asian Health Services, and the counties of San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara, and the City of Santa Monica. The purpose of the program is to improve ventilation and protect nail salon workers and customers from hazardous chemicals found in nail products.

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Food Placards: Have You Seen Them?

Have you seen these PASS placards around San Mateo County?

Have you seen these PASS placards around San Mateo County?

It’s been eleven months since Environmental Health Services (EHS) started putting up color-coded food placards as part of routine food inspections in San Mateo County.

Since January 2016, 86% of restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores and other food facilities have enrolled in the program and are now displaying green “PASS” placards. EHS staff initially issued 38 yellow “CONDITIONAL PASS” and 29 red “CLOSED” placards, however through technical assistance provided all of these food facilities are now displaying green “PASS” placards.

Since the placards went live we’ve received some questions from you about the program, so we’ve summarized some quick facts about what the green, yellow and red colors mean and where to look for them the next time you head out to your favorite restaurant, cafeteria, or café.

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San Mateo County Wins Exciting Awards

Elizabeth Rouan and her award.

Elizabeth Rouan and her award.

San Mateo County attended a statewide conference in early November and came back with two awards we are very proud to share!

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Keep the Food Tricks Out of “Trick-or-Treating” this Halloween

halloweendessertHalloween can be a fun and spooky time of year for all with sweet treats and parties and the grand event of trick-or-treating.

To make sure this year’s trick-or-treating experience stays fun, Environmental Health Services recommends the following food safety tips for your scary celebration.

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