The Environmental Health Laboratories (EHL) measures levels of environmental toxins known to cause harm to human health for which County, State or Federal governments have set a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). Because these measurements could constitute evidence in proceeding to enforce compliance by regulators, they must withstand legal challenges. Therefore, every aspect of laboratory operation must meet universally accepted standards of measurement quality with accreditation oversight. EHL consists of five major sections:
Laboratory Administration provides administrative, technical and quality management for each laboratory section. The Program Manager also acts as technical liaison between Public Health Administration and the laboratory, and provides consultation on a variety of environmental health issues affecting county residents.
The Environmental Analysis Laboratory supports the Industrial Hygiene and Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs of the Department of Public Health. It also offers industrial hygiene support to the Departments of Public Works and Parks.
The Environmental Radiochemistry Laboratory analyzes Missouri public drinking water supplies for natural radiation contamination for compliance to the Safe Drinking Water Act under contract with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The Milk and Water Laboratory analyzes milk, dairy products and dairy farm water from an area encompassing the eastern half of Missouri for compliance to the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance under contract with the Missouri Department of Agriculture. It also supports Public Health Sanitation with swimming pool water testing.
The Air Monitoring group continuously monitors air quality at various sites located in Saint Louis County for compliance to the Clean Air Act under contract with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The Pollen and Mold Center monitors atmospheric pollen and mold (aeroallergens) throughout the year. The Environmental Health Laboratories staff measure and record airborne pollen and mold levels. They collect, identify and count aeroallergens under microscopic magnification. This data is reported to news and weather casters, and to health organizations such as the American Lung Association.
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See individual laboratory sections.
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Question: Where can I obtain advice about environmental issues of concern to me?
Answer: Environmental Health Laboratories Administration can provide objective advice or referrals on a variety of environmental health concerns.
Question: Can I call to obtain the results on a sample I deliver?
Answer: We give results by phone or fax only if requested at the time of sample delivery. A valid phone number and/or fax number should be listed on the Analysis Request Form. If requesting a fax of your results, it is your responsibility to ensure the privacy of the fax line.
Question: Do I need to be concerned that my results may be disclosed to others under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?
Answer: No. FOIA requests only apply to official results for regulatory compliance where samples are collected by an authorized person. For this same reason, over-the-counter results cannot be used in support of personal legal action. They are only for the information of the client.
Question: If my test result indicates a violation of County Ordinance or other law, could I be held liable?
Answer: The Environmental Health Laboratories exists to support the health initiatives of the Director of Public Health with defensible measurements, whose primary aim is protecting the health of county citizens. If a result indicates a potential hazard to you, your family, guests or neighbors, after consulting with you, we may refer you to an environmental educator / regulator who can assist you in evaluating and advise you about correcting the health threat.
Question: If I suspect my neighbor or employer of having an environmental hazard of threat to me, can I submit a sample (without their knowledge) for your laboratory to test?
Answer: No. We accept samples that belong to you (the client) as property owner or renter. Samples taken by deceit, illegally, or while trespassing or defacing another’s property are not accepted. If the sample is not yours, the legal owner must complete the “Permission” section of the Analysis Request Form prior to sample submission. If you do not want to obtain the owner’s permission, we can refer you to the proper authority for your health related environmental complaint.
Question: Isn’t it better not knowing if my home has an environmental hazard, which requires disclosure to future buyers of my home?
Answer: No. Suspecting a potential health threat or concern may cause a greater health risk from continued exposure or worry than knowing whether or not one actually exists. Better to know and deal with the problem now for your emotional and physical well-being.