Topics A to Z

As part of NEHA's continuos effort to provide convenient access to information and resources, we have gathered together for you the links in this section. Our mission is "to advance the environmental health and protection professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all,” as well as to educate and inform those outside the profession.

Abstract

This study examines the analytical methods used to test drinking water for atrazine along with the seasonal variation of atrazine in drinking water. Samples from 117 counties throughout Kentucky from January 2000 to December 2008 were analyzed. Methods 507 and 508.1 were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test. Median values of these methods were similar (p = .7421). To examine seasonal variation, data from each year and from the entire period were analyzed using one-way ANOVA; pairwise multiple comparisons were made for years with significant differences. All the years except 2001, 2005, 2006, and 2007 had significantly different atrazine concentrations between seasons. The Seasonal Kendall Test for Trend was used to identify trends in atrazine over time. Yearly means ranged from 0.000043 mg/L (± 0.000011 mg/L) to 0.000995 mg/L (± 0.000510 mg/L). The highest levels were observed during spring in most years. A significant (p = .000092) decreasing trend of -7.6 x 10-6 mg/L/year was found. Decreasing trends were also present in all five regions of the state during this period. This study illustrates the need for changes in sampling methodology used today, so that effective exposure assessments can be conducted to study the public’s exposure to atrazine in drinking water.

December 2016
December 2016
79.5 | E1-E6
Jonathan Suhl, MPH, Vijay Golla, MPH, PhD, Jessica L. Rinsky, MPH, Claudia Hopenhayn, MPH, PhD

Abstract

The objective of this study is to evaluate the possibility or extent of asbestos pollution in small-scale preschools, which are asbestos-containing buildings (ACBs), and to provide management plans for them. Korea is legally managing preschools with a total ground area of 430 m2 or above as ACBs, but is not legally regulating preschools smaller than 430 m2 (small-scale preschools) that account for 90.4% of all preschools. Thus, this study selected 46 small-scale preschools in Seoul, collected airborne samples at 91 points, and analyzed the samples with phase contrast microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The result by the ISO 10312 method satisfied the Korean Indoor Air Quality Control Act (≤0.01 fibers/cc) (International Organization for Standardization, 1995). The analysis result by the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act method was lower than the filter background level. There is a method to remove or eliminate asbestos, but this method increases the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos, so it seems better to effectively maintain and manage the buildings of small-scale preschools to prevent airborne asbestos.

July 2017
July/August 2017
80.1 | E1-E6
Kwangtae Ha, Institute of Public Health and Environment, Seoul Metropolitan Government Research, Sooknye Chung, Institute of Public Health and Environment, Seoul Metropolitan Government Research, Suhyun Lee, Institute of Public Health and Environment, Seoul Metropolitan Government Research, Mihae Kang, Institute of Public Health and Environment, Seoul Metropolitan Government Research
Additional Topics A to Z: Institutions / Schools

Abstract

Community-acquired Legionnaires’ disease (LD) cases reported in Dallas County, Texas, from 2000 through 2010 were analyzed to determine the characteristics of disease incidence and burden of community-acquired LD and identify any temporal or geographic variation of the disease occurrences. As elsewhere in the U.S., annual reported cases of LD increased in the county, rising 380% from 2000 to 2010. Almost all cases were sporadic. Clustering of cases both geographically and temporally was observed and cases were found to be concentrated in the northern and eastern parts of the county. The rising incidence of community-acquired LD may require development of a public health policy that takes into consideration risk factors, particularly age. An environmental study would be helpful to identify modifiable environmental factors in the areas with clustered cases.

April 2016
April 2016
78.8 | E1-E6
Woldu Ameneshoa, MPH, Joon-Hak Lee, MS, PhD, John T. Carlo, MSE, MD
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

Abstract

The current population of South Africa has been migrating into informal urban settlements that lack adequate sanitation service delivery, caused at least in part by the lack of the necessary skills in the local government sector and the lack of buy in from the community into the provided sanitation facilities. The authors report results of policy research into the relevant disaster management options that could be applied to improve the sanitation service delivery in South Africa. The best policy option was identified as the draft Disaster Management Regulations: Disaster Management. Local government can use these tools through the formation of the volunteer units from the nongovernmental organization sector, the business community, and from among the end users of sanitation facilities. Formation of the volunteer unit should follow the principles of cooperative governance and participatory approach to disaster management. Implementation should be facilitated through the adoption of locally specific municipal by laws.

March 2016
March 2016
78.7 | E1-E7
Shafick Hoossein, MSc, Roman Tandlich, PhD, Kevin Whittington-Jones, PhD, Richard Laubscher, MSc, MBA

Abstract

Increased regulatory oversight over the use of perchloroethylene (perc) in dry cleaning establishments due to health and environmental risks have prompted many dry cleaning facilities to seek substitutes. Among the most benign alternatives is professional wet cleaning. Yet is wet cleaning viable from a business perspective? Using data from five dry cleaners that recently transitioned from perc to professional wet cleaning, this analysis reviews changes associated with cleaning performance, natural resource use, operations, labor, and associated costs. The financial assessment found that the average payback period related to the capital investments averaged 2.5 years and the average return on investment was 3.6 (using a discount rate of 5%). Higher financial returns were observed when cleaners kept their capital investments below $50,000. The performance evaluation found that garments cleaned with the wet cleaning technology came out as well as or better than with perc, especially as the cleaner became more familiar with the wet cleaning process. This analysis affirms the business case for wet cleaning, adding to the body of evidence that professional wet cleaning is not only environmentally preferable, but that it is also technically and financially feasible.

January 2017
January/February 2017
79.6 | E1-E7
Joy Onasch, MS, PE, Molly Jacobs, MPH, Elyce Biddle, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

Abstract

Children are considered to be a vulnerable population when it comes to exposures to hazardous substances. Schools, where children spend about one third of their day, are expected to be a safe environment. Yet, there are many hazardous substances in schools that can be inadvertently or intentionally released and harm the health of students and teachers alike. The purpose of this analysis is to characterize acute chemical release incidents in school settings and identify prevention practices.

The acute chemical incident surveillance programs of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) captured 24,748 acute chemical release incidents from 14 states that participated during 2008–2013. We examined 335 of these incidents that occurred at schools. While only 1.3% (n = 335) of all chemical incidents reported to ATSDR occurred in schools, these incidents represented a larger part of the total impacts, including 8.5% of incidents with persons injured, 5.7% of evacuations ordered, and 31.1% of people evacuated. Natural gas (21.8%) and mercury (18.2%) were the chemicals most frequently released.

Collecting and analyzing data on acute school chemical releases allows stakeholders to target prevention initiatives and provide a school environment safe from these chemical exposures.

November 2017
November 2017
80.4 | E1-E7
Ayana R. Anderson, MPH, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Taniece R. Eure, MPH, University of Georgia College of Public Health, Maureen F. Orr, MS, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Lloyd J. Kolbe, PhD, Indiana University Bloomington School of Public Health
Additional Topics A to Z: Institutions / Schools

Abstract

Biogeochemical interactions between humans and their surrounding environment were studied through fecal material and urine of mine laborers at the Mangampeta barite mining area in India. For the purpose of comparison, feces and urine were also collected from males of Sri Venkateswara University campus at Tirupati. Ten trace elements were analyzed by atomic absorption spectroscopy on ash weight basis. Barium, nickel, chromium, and cadmium were found to be 3 times higher in feces of men at Mangampeta than of men at Tirupati. Cobalt was also found to be marginally higher in the feces of men at Mangampeta than men at Tirupati. Barium and chromium were absent in the urine of men at Tirupati, and strontium, zinc, cobalt, and nickel were 1.5 times higher in the urine of men at Mangampeta than men at Tirupati. Heavy metals, namely copper, lead, zinc, manganese, and strontium, in feces and lead and manganese in urine of men at Tirupati were higher than men at Mangampeta. In contrast to the Western world, people in rural areas of India derive their dietary materials from their surrounding habitat. Therefore, fecal material and the urine of human beings from rural areas can be used as tools in biogeochemical surveys, as these waste materials reflect their immediate geochemical environment.

May 2016
May 2016
78.9 | E1-E5
Vangeepuram Raghu, MSc, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

Abstract

Population-based estimates of asthma in adults in China during the summer season are lacking. A community-based survey was conducted among adults (N = 610) selected through simple random sampling across all inner-city areas of Zunyi in the Guizhou Province of China. Data on asthma and asthma-related symptoms and selected home environmental factors were collected using a modified European Community Respiratory Health Survey II questionnaire. The studied respondents recorded a prevalence rate of asthma and asthma-related symptoms in summer (7.5%) in Zunyi. Among a variety of risk factors, asthma in childhood, kitchen in the living room or bedroom, mixed fuel stove, cooking oil fumes, secondhand smoke, mold growth, and home furnishings were associated with increased risks of asthma and asthma-related symptoms. This study demonstrates the harmful effects of indoor air pollution from indoor environmental exposure on the lung function of adult residents in summer and emphasizes the need for public health efforts to decrease exposure to indoor environmental risk factors.

October 2016
October 2016
79.3 | E1-E8
Yu Jie, Li Yan, Tang Yin, Li Kebin

The ecological study described in this article assessed morbidity and mortality excesses in the eight municipalities surrounding the municipal solid waste landfill of Barengo (Novara, northwest Italy). The resident populations living in this area on December 31, 1991, and December 31, 2005, were assessed. Standardized incidence and mortality ratios were calculated using data from hospital discharge forms, death forms, and regional databases. For congenital malformations (2003–2009 period), incidence excesses were found in females. Concerning morbidity (2003–2009 period) and mortality (2000–2009 period) for all causes, the observed cases and deaths largely exceeded the expected ones. During the 1980–2000 period, incidence excesses of deaths were reported for small intestine cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and soft tissue sarcomas. Although morbidity and mortality excesses were found in the authors’ study, further studies are needed to better identify the health-risk factors present in the area.

January 2016
January/February 2016
78.6 | E1-E8
Christian Salerno, MSc, Massimiliano Panella, PhD, Sara Sacco, MD, Paola Berchialla, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: General Environmental Health

Abstract

Soil contamination by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is an increasing problem. We wanted to determine the characteristics and ecological risk of PAHs in wastewater-irrigated soil, provide a theoretical basis for the prevention of PAH contamination in soils, and inform the formulation of guidelines and standards for critical limits of PAHs. We collected soil samples from two typical wastewater-irrigated farmlands, Farmlands A and B, in Tangshan, China, and used a clean-water irrigated farmland, Farmland C, as the control area. A total of 15 samples were analyzed for 16 PAHs by high-performance liquid chromatography. The results showed that the total amount of PAHs in samples from Farmlands A and B were 1046.2 μg/kg and 1308.1 μg/kg, respectively—significantly higher than Farmland C’s 189.1 μg/kg. The PAHs from wastewater-irrigated soil mainly consisted of PAHs of 4-rings or higher, accounting for 83.1% and 60.2% of total PAHs for Farmlands A and B, respectively. The evaluation of the ecological risk of PAHs using the single-factor index method and Nemerow comprehensive index (Pn) method revealed the main PAHs exceeding the critical limits were pyrene, dibenz[a,h]anthracene, and benzo[g,h,i]perylene. The Pn for the two wastewater-irrigated soils were 3.05 and 3.16, respectively, for Farmlands A and B, reaching a heavy pollution level versus Farmland C’s 0.34, classified as a clean level. We conclude that wastewater irrigation has led to ecological risk, and the wastewater-irrigated soil is carcinogenic, teratogenic, and mutagenic.

May 2017
May 2017
79.9 | E1-E6
Hongxia Gao, Hebei Province Key Laboratory of Occupational Health & Safety, School of Public Health, North China University of Science & Technology, Yingli Liu, Hebei Province Key Laboratory of Occupational Health & Safety, School of Public Health, North China University of Science & Technology, Weijun Guan, Hebei Province Key Laboratory of Occupational Health & Safety, School of Public Health, North China University of Science & Technology, Nan Liu, Hebei Province Key Laboratory of Occupational Health & Safety, School of Public Health, North China University of Science & Technology
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

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