Ditch the Disposables

Calling all campers! Beckoning all BBQers! Tempting all tailgaters! Summer is approaching, and we know you’ll be fueling up your portable stoves and barbeques to grill up the juiciest hot dogs and roast the perfect veggies. That means it’s time to go reusable with 1lb. propane cylinders.


Campers power their portable stove with a refillable 1lb. cylinder.


Why go reusable? Continue reading

Cooking with Care this Holiday Season

Cooking at home can be a great way to spend time with family during the holidays. Keep everyone safe by following these tips on food safety in the kitchen.


  • Wash your hands before, during, and after preparing food.
  • Wash all fresh produce before cutting or consuming.
  • Prevent colds from spreading to your food. Keep sticky fingers out of the kitchen and cover foods if possible.


  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and ready-to-eat items like vegetables and bread to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Ensure raw eggs, meat, poultry and their juices stay separate from foods that won’t be cooked.


  • Use a chafing dish to keep hot foods at 135°F or above.
  • Reheat leftovers quickly and thoroughly to 165°F.
  • Bake cookies according to instructions. It’s tempting, but don’t eat the raw dough!
  • If frying foods, be aware of the cooking times to ensure food is fully cooked and ready for consumption. Find out where to properly dispose of cooking oil after use here.


  • Use ice bowls to keep food cold (below 40°F).
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of preparation.
  • Do not defrost food at room temperature. Opt for safe defrosting in the refrigerator, microwave or under cold running water.

What food tips or recipes do you have to share with us? Comment below and the first 10 participants will win a thermometer!

Happy Holidays from Environmental Health Services!

Be Fish Smart in San Francisco Bay


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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Healthy and Safe Swimming Pools

Keeping pools operating properly is an issue of public health and safety

Keeping pools operating properly is an issue of public health and safety

Swimming in a public pool can be one of the greatest joys of summer. Pools are a great place to spend time with friends, soak up the sunshine, and stay cool! Most of us know there are safety rules at pools—how many times have you heard your parent or lifeguard say “no running!!” Have you ever thought about other safety and health issues for public pools? Things like: how the pool was designed, whether the filtration system works properly, proper fencing to prevent drowning, and reminder signs? And what about spas? Is the water temperature set correctly? Who is maintaining the proper chemical balance to maintain sanitation without making swimmers sick from too much or too little chemicals? Continue reading

Healthy Recreational Water

Beaches are posted if levels of bacteria exceed safe levels

Beaches are posted if levels of bacteria exceed safe levels

By Kate Elgin, Environmental Health Specialist, San Mateo County Environmental Health

We are lucky in San Mateo County to be located between the majestic San Francisco Bay and the beautiful Pacific Ocean, but how do you know if the ocean, lagoon and creek water your family plays in is safe? San Mateo County Environmental Health samples 43 beach, bay and creek mouth sites weekly. Continue reading

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Medications

There are currently 14 medicine drop off locations in San Mateo County

There are currently 14 medicine drop off locations in San Mateo County

Prescription medication can save lives, but also can take lives. Overdoses and accidental poisonings are just two tragic consequences of a drug problem that’s engulfed the nation — including San Mateo County.

The use of prescription medication is on the rise. This leads to a lot of pills in household medicine cabinets, easily accessed by anyone: unsuspecting children, curious teens, forgetful seniors, thieving addicts. Crime, along with physical peril, commonly stems from the misuse of these drugs. Due in part to unsecured, improperly stored prescription medications being readily accessible in the home, the abuse of prescription medications is a growing problem, particularly among teens. Continue reading

Welcome to Environmental Health!

Intro BlogHello and welcome to the San Mateo County Environmental Health blog site! Our mission with this site is to provide timely and informative topics related to the work our agency does for San Mateo County, and to give you a chance to interact with us about your ideas and concerns. We welcome your comments on our topics, but a little housekeeping note: comments that are inflammatory, derogatory, or contain foul language will not be posted for obvious reasons. If you don’t like what we are doing, please tell us- just be polite! We strongly encourage you to have a look at our “Terms of Use” tab for guidance on how we will manage this site. Okay, so here we go!

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