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. Continue reading

Environmental Health Tips

ehtipsIn honor of tomorrow (October 5) being “National Do Something Nice Day,” Environmental Health Services (EHS) is relaying answers to some of its most frequently asked questions from the public and businesses.

From food inspections to hazardous waste dumping and everything in between, read on for useful tips that may come in handy in the future.

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2016 Coastal Cleanup Day is Another Success!

Volunteers at Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay ready for a cleanup.

Volunteers at Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay ready for a cleanup.

Last Saturday thousands of volunteers showed up in San Mateo County to clean up litter on shorelines, beaches, parks and neighborhoods in honor of Coastal Cleanup Day.

From Brisbane all the way down to Pescadero, over 3,871 volunteers of all ages showed how much of a difference one event can make. In just three hours volunteers collected an estimated 22,299 pounds of trash and 3,754 pounds of recyclables from over 33 sites on the bayside and coast by climbing hills and even wading through water! For a few volunteers it was worth it because they were lucky enough to uncover a few of the most unusual items of the day, such as a backpack full of crabs in Half Moon Bay and an old police radio in Burlingame.

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Stay Food Safe When Going Back to School

father_son_foodSummer is over which means the kids are back in school and you are back to packing lunches on the go. Before you start packing, Environmental Health Services want to remind you about a few food safety tips that will prevent your little ones (or not so little) from falling ill because of improper food handling.

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Environmental Health Helps Clear Invasive Species at San Bruno Mountain

Environmental Health Services staff helping out at San Bruno Mountain.

Environmental Health Services staff helping out at San Bruno Mountain.

On a foggy San Mateo County day, 35 Environmental Health Services employees volunteered to help remove invasive plants on the Bog Trail near Colma Creek at San Bruno Mountain State and County Park.

Staff spent two hours working with the San Mateo County Parks Department to remove invasive species like Cape Ivy, Radish and Poison Hemlock from taking over local native plant habitats covering over a quarter acre.

We thoroughly enjoyed being outside despite the dreary weather.

Check out some of our photos below:

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Get Ready for the 32nd Annual Coastal Cleanup Day


There are over 30 locations in San Mateo County to help clean up!

Join us on September 17th 9am-Noon to participate in California’s largest volunteer event that helps clean up and protect our beaches, shorelines, creeks, neighborhoods and parks in San Mateo County. These locations have historically been collection spots for trash and debris, and if not removed, can be harmful to marine wildlife and human health.


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Recycle Used Motor Oil Filters (But NOT in Your Garbage or Recycle Bin)

A used oil filter may contain up to 10 ounces of used motor oil inside.

A used oil filter may contain up to 10 ounces of used motor oil inside.

What happens when a used oil filter is improperly disposed of? The oil trapped inside the filter will ooze out and contaminate our streams, neighborhood streets, and the local landfill.

Once oil contaminates a landfill, over time it can gradually reach underground water sources. The California Department of Resources Recycling & Recovery (CalRecycle) estimates there are at least two million gallons of motor oil lost when filters are not properly recycled at a used motor oil and filter collection center.

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Dropping off Your Household Hazardous Waste is as Easy as 1-2-3!

San Mateo County's Household Hazardous Waste Program is a "full-service" program.

San Mateo County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program is a “full-service” program.

San Mateo County has offered a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program for over 24 years for residents to drop-off a variety of HHW such as cleaning chemicals, batteries, paint, fluorescent lights, propane tanks and more.

The program is free to residents and continues to be a popular way to get rid of unwanted toxic waste.

Next time you use the program – whether it is at our permanent facility in San Mateo or one of our temporary events in Daly City, La Honda, Menlo Park, Pacifica, Portola Valley, or South San Francisco – here are some quick tips to help you help us make the program a success for everyone.

  1. Make an appointment. You can do so online at or by calling (650) 363-4718, select option 3.
  2. Gather your waste in a sturdy box. Don’t mix waste and make sure they are in their original containers. Check our website for a list of accepted waste. The limit per appointment is 10 gallons or 50 pounds.
  3. Arrive at your designated time. The HHW program is “full-service” so stay in your vehicle while we take the waste directly from your car. Just make sure to place it all in an easily accessible location for staff to reach.

And that’s it!

Visit for more information on how to make an appointment and what wastes are accepted.

Housing Pilot Program Off to a Robust Start

San Mateo County's Augmented Pilot Program

San Mateo County’s Augmented Pilot Program

Since January 2016, the San Mateo County Augmented Housing Inspection Pilot Program, approved by the County Board of Supervisors in 2015, has hit the ground running and is showing positive results. In just six months 76% of the health and safety violations reported at 348 apartment complexes targeted by the pilot have been resolved.

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Safer Cleaning Alternatives in the Bathroom

girlcleaningIt’s inevitable that toilets get stained, drains get clogged, and mildew develops in the shower. But before you grab a conventional cleaner with harsh chemicals found at the grocery store, protect your health and your wallet by creating your own bathroom cleaners from safer ingredients.

Here are some bathroom ingredient essentials you will need: Continue reading