Mercury Overview

Mercury is a naturally occurring metallic element that can be harmful to the nervous system if high quantities of elemental vapor are breathed, or if high quantities of methylmercury (a type of organic mercury) are ingested.  Since elemental mercury is no longer used to make to make household thermometers, the more common exposure these days is methylmercury contamination of food products.  Seafood contains methylmercury; however, the health benefits of seafood tend to outweigh the potential risk from mercury.

Pesticides Overview

Pesticides are chemicals designed to kill or repel insects, rodents, plants, or mold in our crops, schools, homes, and play places. Children are primarily exposed through residues in foods. Exposures are linked to some cancers, neurological and behavioral problems, and acute poisonings. Informed choices and behaviors can prevent unnecessary pesticide exposures.

Emergency Situations: Poison Control Center 1(800)222-1222


General Pesticide Information:

Cornell Cooperative Extension, Suffolk County

423 Griffing Avenue, Suite 100, Riverhead, New York 11901-3071
TEL: 631-727-7850, FAX: 631-727-7130

Click to download Message Map as a PDF.

Mold Overview

Mold are types of fungi that can be found nearly everywhere people live.  Some people are sensitive to high quantities of certain molds that they breathe in the air, resulting in asthma exacerbations, or symptoms similar to having a cold. Molds depend on moisture to live; the best way to reduce overgrowth of mold in a home is to identify and fix sources of leaking water and condensation.

Lead Overview

Lead is a metal that has been used in the past in gasoline and pain, and can currently be found in many household products. Lead is known to cause neurologic and developmental health problems in children, even at low levels. Avoid exposures to peeling paint in older homes, painted housewares, folk remedies, and cosmetics that may contain lead.

Click to download Message Map as a PDF.

Endocrine Disruptors Overview

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are man-made substances that interfere with the production or function of hormones. Two examples of EDCs with known adverse health effects are Bisphenol A and phthalates. Exposure to these chemicals is widespread, but simple steps can reduce risk of harm.

Click to download Message Map as a PDF.

Asbestos Overview

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that were once used widely in insulation, brake pads, and other products. All new uses have been banned since 1989 because asbestos is known to cause lung problems, including cancer, decades after high exposures. Children are not typically at risk for these diseases because they do not work in industrial settings; however, some home and school construction projects can disturb old asbestos.  Appropriate construction practices and avoidance of known sources of asbestos, along with avoidance of tobacco smoke, are the best ways to avoid unnecessary risk to children.

Click to download Message Map as a PDF.