This week, my colleagues and I passed Senate Bill 31, my bill to require that all kids in Michigan are screened for lead exposure regardless of their health insurance coverage. We know early childhood exposure to lead has been a major issue in Flint and continues to pose a threat around our state, which is why we need to tackle this problem on multiple fronts, including during regular healthcare checkups. By making sure physicians are catching lead exposure in children as early as possible, parents can identify early on if exposure to lead has occurred, preventing further harm as much as possible and taking the steps needed to help their child live a healthy and happy life.
Locally, I hosted a community coffee hour in Flint this past Monday. After sharing some legislative updates, I welcomed questions from the group of engaged citizens that led to a lively, relevant discussion. We talked for quite some time and a few folks even stuck around to network and chat long after we wrapped up! Many thanks to Totem Books for providing the space and tasty beverages. My next community conversation is scheduled for July 14 at Flushing Senior Center; for information on this and other events, please visit my events page or follow me on Facebook.
Finally, I’m honored to have voted in favor of legislation going to Governor Whitmer that recognizes June 19 as Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Our office will be closed on Monday, allowing our staff to join Juneteenth festivities and celebrate African American history and culture, while continuing to promote diversity, equality, and a strong sense of community in our state.
I hope this and the below information helpful. Thanks again for your time! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 517-373-0142 or SenJCherry@senate.michigan.gov with questions or concerns.
EGLE Air Quality Index
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a color-coded way for residents to see what the levels of some types of air pollution are in their area. The higher the AQI, the worse the air quality is and the more cause for concern. Due to the recent fires in northern Michigan and Canada the past couple of weeks, the AQI for particulate matter (PM) is high in many parts of Michigan and the eastern US. EPA’s Smoke and Fire map can be helpful in locating fires near you and seeing how smoke is moving.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has advised:
- For current health and safety information, follow social media at:
- For people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and teens it is suggested to take the following steps to reduce exposure:
- Avoid strenuous outdoor activities;
- Keep outdoor activities short;
- Consider moving physical activities indoors or rescheduling them.
- For everyone else:
- Choose less strenuous activities (like walking instead of running) so you don’t breathe as hard;
- Shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors;
- Be active outdoors when air quality is better.
Air Quality Alerts are issued through the EnviroFlash system, sign up here to receive them. EnviroFlash is a free subscription service.
Safety tips to keep fires under control:
- When you’re working with fire or equipment outdoors, keep in mind that fires can take off very fast and that the remains of a fire smolder for some time. Here are some tips to keep it safe out there:
- Contain your campfire or bonfire in a pit or ring and make sure you put it out thoroughly before leaving for the night. Douse the fire with water, stir the ashes and douse again.
- Never leave any fire — including hot coals — unattended.
- Keep a hose or other water source nearby when burning.
- Prevent sparks. Keep trailer chains from dragging when you’re on the road; don’t park hot equipment on dry grass.
- Never shoot fireworks into the woods, dry grass or shrubs.
- Get more fire safety tips at Michigan.gov/FireManagement.
- It’s illegal to burn plastic, hazardous materials, foam, or other household trash. This can release dangerous chemicals into the air.
- You can use a burn barrel with a screen on top to burn paper, leaves and natural materials.
Additional fire tips and information about the DNR’s fire programs here.
WHEN: June 21-22, 2023
WHERE: Detroit, Michigan
The 2023 Michigan Environmental Justice Conference will focus on the theme of Advancing Environmental Justice: Working Together toward Progress. Conference attendees can learn about and engage with environmental justice related resources and programs from various state of Michigan departments and other organizations at the Resource Fair. There will also be a Poster Gallery to hear from presenters about their environmental justice research and projects. The goal of this 2-day, in-person conference is to convene conversations, explore actions, present research and continue progress toward achieving environmental justice in Michigan.
The conference is intended for anyone interested in environmental justice, including front-line communities, business and industry, labor, local, tribal, state, and federal government, policy makers, public health practitioners, academic and community-based researchers, community and environmental organizations, and environmental justice and community advocates.
MDARD Encourages Owners to Help Keep Their Animals Cool and Safe as Temperatures Rise
As temperatures rise into the 90s in many parts of the state, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is reminding owners of some of the best ways to keep animals cool and safe.
Keep animals safe from the heat by following these tips:
Let it Flow: Provide unlimited cool clean, fresh water
- Just like people, animals can quickly get parched in hot temperatures. No matter the species, animals should have access to unlimited cool, clean, fresh water to prevent dehydration.
Know Their Limits: An animal’s ability to tolerate heat varies
- An animal’s age, breed, type of coat, and health history can all play a role in their ability to tolerate the heat. Keep an eye on them for signs of heat stress—like increased panting or drooling and being more lethargic. If they are showing these signs, it is time to immediately move them to a cooler area. Also, consider talking to your veterinarian. They will have a greater knowledge of your animal(s) and be able to give more specific guidance on how to best handle them in hot weather.
Happy Paws: Test surfaces to make sure they won’t burn paws
- Surfaces like asphalt, concrete, and sand can really heat up in the sun, which can burn paws— or at least make a walk very uncomfortable. To test if a surface is too hot, touch it with the palm of your hand. If it is too hot for you, consider taking a different route that is mostly grass or waiting until the evening when everything has had a chance to cool.
Get in Gear: Parked vehicles are not places to park pets
- Even when temperatures feel more moderate, vehicles can heat up very quickly, creating dangerous conditions for the animals left inside. Leaving windows cracked open and/or parking in the shade does little to improve the situation. In these conditions, it is best to leave pets at home when you need to go out and about.
A Place to Chill: Make sure animals have a place to cool down
- Animals know when they are too hot and will usually try to find a place where they can cool down. Make sure they have access to shade, fans, misters, pools, cooling mats, and/or air-conditioned spaces to help them stay comfortable.
Following these tips can help keep your animals cool and comfortable through any heat wave. If there are any concerns about your animals’ health either now or throughout the summer months, please talk to your veterinarian.