New Report! Investigating Environmental Contamination: A Guide for Communities

Community resource guide cover page

The Region 5 PEHSU recently published Investigating Environmental Contamination: A Guide for Communities. The guide is for community members who are concerned about their environmental exposures in their neighborhood. It covers outdoor pollution in the air, soil, and water and offers resources specific for Region 5 states. It also includes a power mapping example to help community members advocate for change and take their environmental concerns to legislators. A printer-friendly version is also available. Please contact us if you would like us to send you hard copies.


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The Great Lakes Center for Children’s Environmental Health was established in 1999 in partnership with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to promote and protect children’s health through prevention, education, diagnosis and treatment of environmentally related diseases. View our brochure here. We also have a monthly newsletter you can subscribe to.

We are one of 10 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs) across the country dedicated to children’s environmental health issues.‌‌ Our primary area of focus is Region 5, which includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. A PEHSU has experts in pediatrics, toxicology, occupational and environmental medicine, reproductive health, and other specialties. PEHSUs are a source of medical information and advice on environmental exposures influence reproductive and children’s health and work with an array of people, such as parents, schools, and state agencies, to address children’s environmental health issues.


Our team of health professionals encompass diverse areas of expertise including medical toxicology, pediatrics, occupational/environmental medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and emergency medicine.

Our objectives are to:

    • Serve as an information resource for health care professionals and the general public on children’s environmental health issues
    • Provide consultation to public health and environmental agencies
    • Train pediatricians, environmental and occupational medicine physicians, medical toxicologists, and other health professionals
    • Conduct research aimed at preventing children’s environmental diseases
    • Promote sound local, regional, and national policies that protect children’s health and the environment and that promote environmental justice
    • Provide clinical evaluation services for children and pregnant women with environmental illnesses or exposures



Green Kids Doc

Looking for well researched and thoughtful posts about Children’s Environmental Health issues? Follow our blog, Green Kids Doc to learn about topics such as:

  • Cigarette and marijuana smoke
  • Gun accident prevention

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Keys to success image




School example

Successful implementation of school environmental health programs have helped guide efforts for healthier schools. A report can be found here:
Keys to Success in School Environmental Health Programs


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This webpage was supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and funded (in part) by the cooperative agreement award number 5NU61TS000237-05 from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Acknowledgement: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports the PEHSU by providing partial funding to ATSDR under Inter-Agency Agreement number DW-75-95877701. Neither EPA nor ATSDR endorse the purchase of any commercial products or services mentioned in PEHSU publications.


Dr. Susan Buchanan has been actively assisting the Region 5 ATSDR, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, and residents involved with the ethylene oxide (EtO) case in Willowbrook, Illinois. Dr. Buchanan testified in front of the Illinois General Assembly panel and has spoken at numerous community meetings. Concerns about exposure to EtO arose after an ATSDR report was published stating that Sterigenics, a commercial sterilizer that uses EtO to sterilize medical equipment and other products, has been emitting levels of EtO that could be harmful to public health.

Link To ABC 7 Chicago Video

Concerns on Indoor Soccer Field Turf: Dr Buchanan Gives Statement

Link To Dr Buchanan Statement Video

Dr. Buchanan was featured in the news discussing lead in Chicago’s water supply.

Link To Dr. Buchanan On PBS Video

Region 5 PEHSU assists East Chicago, Indiana. The Great Lakes Center for Children’s Environmental Health/Region 5 PEHSU has been assisting the city of East Chicago, US EPA, and Region 5 ATSDR with the public health response to soil contamination with lead and arsenic.

See Dr. Susan Buchanan’s presentation on the health effects of lead and arsenic, given at a community meeting in East Chicago on September 24, 2016. Click this link to view the presentation (PowerPoint)