Wednesday, October 29, 2008
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State's inaction may lead to public health crisis

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[October 29, 2008]  SPRINGFIELD -- With just a few days remaining for the Illinois General Assembly to debate legislative issues, the Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators is warning state lawmakers of a pending public health crisis concerning the delivery of environmental health protection services in Illinois.

According to Stephen Laker, president of the association, there is proposed legislation currently in the Illinois House of Representatives that changes the repeal date of the Environmental Health Practitioner Licensing Act. "If the House fails to approve this legislation, the current state law requiring the licensure of environmental health professionals will expire," Laker said.

Auto RepairThe legislative intent of this act is to safeguard the health, safety and general welfare of Illinois residents by assuring that qualified and competent individuals are practicing in the field of environmental health. Environmental health services conducted by licensed environmental health practitioners in Illinois include milk and food sanitation, regulation of private water supplies, and management of on-site wastewater disposal systems.

"Simply put, if this licensing act isn't renewed, there are no hiring standards for these health inspectors," said Greg Chance, legislative chair for the association. "The loss of professional standards takes Illinois back decades, which is an unacceptable situation for our taxpaying citizens. Therefore, if the House of Representatives fails to take action on this legislation, the state of Illinois will be unable to assure its residents that qualified, competent professionals are protecting their health."

At this time, the association is working with other public health advocacy groups to encourage leadership within the Illinois House to vote on the proposed extension of the Environmental Health Practitioner Licensing Act to ensure the adequate protection of the public health.

The Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators is a statewide organization that represents over 80 certified local public health departments located outside the Chicago metropolitan area.

[Text from Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators file received from Mark Hilliard, administrator, Logan County Department of Public Health]




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