Harney County Fair and Community Meeting

Burns, OR

OSU NIEHS investigator Dr. Molly Kile initiated a collaboration with the Harney County Health Department that has become a successful partnership. Dr. Molly Kile stuides the health effects of arsenic exposure. Arsenic concentrations are known to be increased in Harney County. In early 2013, Dr. Kile presented at a community meeting in Burns, OR and helped provide residents with testing kits to evaluate the quality of their well water. 

Following the success of the first event in Harney County a second event was held at the Harney County Fair in collaboration with the Harney County Health Department and the Oregon Health Authority. The Harney County Fair features rodeo events, 4H and FFA animal auctions, carnival rides and a variety of vendor booths (September 2013).

Diana Rohlman (Outreach coordinator) attended the fair to help educate the community about the risks and prevention techniques for arsenic. In addition to arsenic test kits, residents could pick up a radon test kit, provided by the Oregon Health Authority. High levels of arsenic have been identified in Harney County (see map here) and arsenic contaminated groundwater is a concern for residents living in the area. To learn more about arsenic and arsenic treatment programs, please click here.

On September 26, 2013, Dr. Molly Kile returned to Burns OR for a community workshop to help explain the results of the arsenic testing kits. For more information about acceptable arsenic levels in groundwater, please refer to this table.  

Diana Rohlman (COEC) and Kirsten Hoagland (Americorps VISTA) work at the Harney County Health Department booth (Setp. 2013)
EHSC and the Oregon Health Authority offered arsenic and radon testing kits to residents of Harney County (March & Sept. 2013)
Kirsten Hoagland, Dr. Molly Kile, Barbara Rothgeb and Lauren Silverman (OSU MPH student) at the community workshop (Sept. 2013)