InJAC’s Environmental work group has taken steps to convince our officials that fugitive dust and air quality are important to Hoosiers, and that rules governing those issues should be re-evaluated.
Below is a letter that was sent to Beverly Gard, the Chair of the Environmental Rules Board, asking her to move the board toward amending the fugitive dust rule (326 IAC 6-4-2) to require IDEM to designate trained county officials as “qualified representatives” able to identify and cite fugitive dust violations. We are also asking that photographic evidence of fugitive dust be admissible when considering the occurrence of violations.
We hope this letter, with YOUR name included, will persuade her to take up this matter with the Board at their upcoming July 8 meeting. If so, we are willing to provide additional testimony regarding the seriousness of this issue.
June 23, 2015
Beverly Gard Chair, Environmental Rules Board
3660 N. 50 E.
Greenfield, IN 46140
Dear Chairwoman Gard:
We are writing as professionals who treat people with respiratory illness in Indiana and who advocate on their behalf. We were happy to learn that the Environmental Rules Board discussed the problem of fugitive dust at its March meeting. Particulate pollution caused by outdoor commercial and industrial activities is a serious respiratory health problem that states across the country are addressing to protect public health. Just last year Michigan published a guide on compliance with its fugitive dust rules and held two workshops (in Detroit and Grand Rapids) to help businesses comply.1 From New Hampshire2 to California,3 most states take the harmful effects of fugitive dust seriously and require companies to follow proper procedures to control the problem. If companies don’t obey the rules, state agencies will issue notices of violation.
Therefore, it is disheartening to see IDEM officials throw up their hands and suggest that there’s nothing they can do to control fugitive dust, and even that the problem resides mostly in neighbors’ minds rather than being actual violations of law. We note with dismay the remarks made to the board by Chief of Staff Carol Comer and Phil Perry, chief of the Compliance and Enforcement Branch in IDEM’s Office of Air Quality, at the March meeting.4 As stated by petitioner Prudence Tokarz in her testimony to the board, and as reported in an investigative article in the Indianapolis Star last November,5 residents around the state have repeatedly documented fugitive dust crossing property boundaries, threatening their health and quality of life, only to be told by IDEM employees that “if they didn’t see it, it didn’t happen.”
Chairwoman Gard, as you stated at the hearing, “something’s wrong here” and we urge you to take action to make things right. We believe that the board should amend the fugitive dust rule (326 IAC 6-4-2) to require IDEM to designate county officials who have taken the necessary training as “qualified representatives” able to identify and cite fugitive dust violations. County officials may respond much more quickly to public complaints than IDEM officials do, and they can often be at the location of a dust problem in less than an hour, which is important because the problem is often caused by weather conditions that are subject to change. Furthermore, we ask that the board consider the possibility of allowing photographic evidence of dust crossing property boundaries as at least a presumption of a violation.
We hope that the board will take up this matter at its next meeting on July 8 and we would welcome the opportunity to provide expert testimony about the seriousness of this health problem.
Thank you for your concern for the public’s health.
Thank you for your interest in training on the Asthma Management Plan. Below are two videos: One for students with asthma and their parents and the other for the medical community. Each video is approximately 30 minutes long. Please click the links below to access:
Please note the training is eligible for .75 Continuing Education for physicians, as long as you complete the Pre-Test and Post-Test. You will not receive proper credit if you do not complete both tests.
Partners for Asthma Action
The American Lung Association in Indiana is working to improve care for children with poorly controlled asthma. We are inviting primary care clinics and health centers in the Indianapolis area to join us for a proven one-year asthma quality improvement initiative, Partners for Asthma Action.
Benefits to participating clinics include:
- Access to quality spirometry and asthma management trainings
- Access to a new spirometer
- Improved care for patients meeting national guidelines
- More effective and efficient systems
- Better documentation and coding, leading to better revenue capture
The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest is also working to ensure this quality improvement initiative is approved for Maintenance of Certification Part 4 credits. Attached is more detailed information on this partnership.
If your clinic or health center is interested in learning more, please contact Jessica Engler, Manager of Lung Health, at the American Lung Association in Indiana by phone 317-210-8558, or by email Jessica.Engler@lung.org
Partners for Asthma Action in Primary Care Clinics
Mission: This systems-change project utilizes a
collaborative approach to implement new systems
that support and sustain the adherence to the
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
asthma guidelines in partnering clinics.
Date:Tuesday, April 21
Location: Indiana Landmarks
1201 N. Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202
10:00 – Welcome
10:15 – Panel: Climate Change and Public Health in Indiana
- Gabriel Filippelli, PhD, Professor, Department of Earth Sciences; Director, Center for Urban Health
- Indra Frank, MD, MPH, Hoosier Environmental Council
- Jim Poyser, Executive Director, Earth Charter Indiana
11:30 – Lunch
12:15 – Speaker: Tim Nation, Executive Director, Peace Learning Center- “Increasing youth protective factors while
reducing risks: A public health approach for positive change”
Introduction by: Jennifer Walthall, MD, MPH Deputy State Health Commissioner, Director for Health
1:30 – Close
This workshop will describe benefits of going smoke-free and recommend steps to develop, implement, and enforce such policy.
When: Wednesday May 27, 2015, 9 am – Noon
Where: Indiana State Museum, 650 W. Washington St. Indianapolis IN
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 is hosting a workshop to encourage and implement smoke-free policies in multi-unit housing, specifically in Marion County, Ind. and its surrounding counties. This workshop will describe benefits of going smoke free and recommend steps to develop, implement, and enforce such policy.
Smoke-free policy is a legal right of property owners and most apartment residents prefer non-smoking housing. Actual experiences, best practice, and lessons from smoke-free housing pioneers from the public and private sector will be shared.
- Property Owners, Managers, Board Members, Executives
- Local Health and Community Advocate Organizations
- Interested Residents
- Awareness of the benefits of going smoke free
- Understanding of steps involved in implementing smoke-free housing policy
- Address common implementation and enforcement concerns
- Discover resources to help implement smoke-free policies
- Network with champions, experts, and leaders in this field
For additional information contact:
There is no cost to participate. To register, go to http://go.usa.gov/3jQ83
The American Lung Institute, in partnership with InJAC will present the Asthma Educator Institute on April 29 – 30, 2015, at the Eskenazi Health – Community Room, located at 5515 West 38th St, in Indianapolis. (Directions can be accessed here)
The Asthma Educator Institute is a two-day professional development course for individuals committed to providing National Institutes of Health (NIH) asthma guidelines-based care. The Institute also serves as a preparatory course for those qualified to take the National Asthma Educator Certification Board (NAECB) exam.
An Early Bird discount is available for those that register before March 30. Also, the first fifteen members who register will get a $50 discount by contacting Kelli McCrary at 317-520-9343 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For detailed information, plus a link to register, please Click Here!
January 16, 2015
The Honorable Mike Pence
Governor, State of Indiana
200 W. Washington St., Rm. 206
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Dear Governor Pence,
We have read the Nov. 29 report in The Indianapolis Star about fugitive dust from the Bear Run
Mine in Sullivan County. As medical and public health professionals working in Indiana, we are
concerned about its effects on the health of local residents.
We ask you to direct the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to appoint
independent local health or law enforcement officials to monitor the mine’s compliance with dust
requirements and submit evidence to IDEM. Additionally, we request that IDEM staff vigorously
enforce fugitive dust requirements against the mine’s owner.
According to the article in the Star, since the mine started operations in 2010, several residents
have suffered from chronic respiratory diseases due to the large quantities of dust that escape
the mine property and drift into neighboring communities. The story states:
“Since 2012, state environmental regulators have received numerous complaints from
neighbors about dust. In spite of rules that say mines must contain dust inside the property
boundaries, no action has been taken. A gap in Indiana regulations says that state officials
must personally see dust to take action, but in four inspections, officials said no dust was
visible. In essence, state regulators tell residents that if inspectors don’t see the dust clouds,
they didn’t happen.”
The story goes on to describe health concerns of local residents, as documented in a study of
air quality and blood samples led by Indiana University professor Michael Hendryx of the School
of Public Health.
“Those living close to the mining operation had average indoor air-pollution readings nearly
three times as high as those living farther away. Outside it was nearly twice as bad for those
living closer to the mine.
“The researchers also tested the residents’ blood for a type of protein that’s an indicator of
blood inflammation, which could be caused by breathing dust.
“According to Hendryx, people who score a 3 or more on the tests should go visit a doctor because they may be at risk of health problems. Those living close to Bear Run scored an average of 4.23. Those further away scored a 2.5.”
We believe the relationship between fugitive dust from the mine and the higher blood test scores is much more than coincidence, and it needs to be acknowledged and addressed. IDEM’s mission is to implement federal and state regulations to protect human health and the environment. We ask you to ensure that IDEM stays on-mission and exercise its authority to protect residents’ health from dangerous fine particles, which can damage lungs and create expensive and debilitating respiratory illness.
On Thursday, December 18, a broad coalition of leading national and statewide health organizations joined together to call for an end to cheap tobacco products that make it easy for young people to use and become addicted to tobacco. Hoosiers for a Healthier Indiana (HHI) is advocating for a $1 increase on the price of all tobacco products in Indiana with revenues directed to funding tobacco prevention and cessation programs, as well as other critical state health programs.
According to HHI, a $1 increase in the price of cigarettes would:
- Reduce youth smoking by 13.3 percent.
- Prevent premature, tobacco-caused death in 32,500 Hoosier smokers.
- Save $2.08 billion in long-term health-care costs.
- Generate $244 million in new revenue to fund state health programs
We are happy to report that we have received survey responses from school nurses in 33 counties! While we hope to hear from nurses in all 92 counties, we are pleased with the results thus far. The SURVEY* will go a long way in helping us to identify the Indiana counties and schools that are most affected by asthma, as well as those that need the most assistance in educating their communities.
Please check in with your childs’ school nurse or any others that you may know, and make sure they have received copies of the plan and ask them to fill out the SURVEY*. Each school nurse, or nurse coordinator, that conpletes the survey will receive a $10 gift card to either Starbucks, Target or CVS.