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

Unvented biomass cookstoves present a recognized respiratory health risk in developing countries. The purpose of this study was to characterize fine particle indoor air pollution (IAP) concentrations in dwellings using traditional cookstoves in a rural community in India. It also aimed to understand if a culturally acceptable clean cookstove intervention was needed to reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses from exposure to combustion products from traditional cookstoves. We took PM2.5 concentrations and ≤0.5 µm particle counts inside a sample of dwellings during the use of traditional cookstoves. The data were analyzed to indicate the magnitude of IAP. In households with traditional cookstoves, average PM2.5 concentrations were 172.8 µg/m3, and the particle counts ≤0.5 µm averaged 346,150. The PM2.5 concentrations from the traditional cookstoves were shown as unhealthy per the PM2.5 air quality index (AQI) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Partnering with local community members, an improved prototype metal cookstove was designed to be fuel-efficient and vent the smoke out of the dwellings. We found PM2.5 concentrations and ≤0.5 µm particle counts for the new stove averaged 21.5 µg/m3 and 60,812, respectively. The PM2.5 concentrations from the new stove are at an acceptable level per the AQI.

October 2017
October 2017
80.3 | E1-E7
Samuel A.K. Patha, MPH, CPH, CHES, LEHS, Health Science Department, Brigham Young University, Eugene C. Cole, DrPH, Health Science Department, Brigham Young University, Michael D. Barnes, PhD, MCHES, Health Science Department, Brigham Young University
Additional Topics A to Z: CCFS

Abstract

Well-constructed epidemiologic studies provide information about environmental risks and inform interventions and public health policies. Using focus groups, this pilot project examined the attitudes, beliefs, and concerns of rural-dwelling adults toward participating in a longitudinal cohort study. Focus group participants who were 40 years or older, residents in the Grants Mining District, and had no previous diagnosis of diabetes (except gestational diabetes) were recruited from a local physician’s office in the Grants Mining District. Participants provided insight into local health concerns, willingness to participate in long-term research and to provide biological specimens, and consent form expectations. For this population, the uranium mining legacy in the Grants Mining District is a contextual factor that can be addressed via community engagement and in the study design to minimize misinterpretation or bias and to maximize the ability to detect causal risk factors for health outcomes.

July 2016
July/August 2016
79.1 | E1-E4
Linda S. Cook, PhD, Stephanie Jackson, MPH, Ambroshia M. Murrietta, MPH, Carla N. Cordova, MPH
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

Abstract

Between 2012 and 2014, almost 3,000 point-of-use water samples from private water systems (e.g., wells, springs) in Virginia were analyzed for common contaminants of human health and aesthetic concern. In addition, each sample was accompanied by a brief questionnaire detailing system characteristics. Approximately 55% of samples exceeded at least one health-based drinking water standard. This study evaluated the interactions between local geology and private system types to understand variations in water quality, which is critical when evaluating and prioritizing efforts to protect public health. In the context of lead, sodium, and total coliform bacteria, this study illustrated the importance of considering local geology as it dictates groundwater flow, private system type as it determines the source aquifer and raw groundwater quality, and household treatment devices as potential sources of additional water quality constituents.

September 2016
September 2016
79.2 | E1-E9
Kelsey J. Pieper, PhD, Leigh-Anne H. Krometis, PhD, Brian L. Benham, PhD, Daniel L. Gallagher, PhD

Abstract

There are multiple factors that affect human health and well-being and the environment is among the major determinants. Nevertheless, health research and interventions are generally isolated from environmental research. The main objective of this research work is to assess the challenges of developing a national surveillance system that can bridge the knowledge gaps among environmental hazards/stressors, human exposure, health outcomes and interventions. Various environmental health frameworks and approaches to developing environmental health indicators (EHIs) were examined. Semistructured interviews with key stakeholders were conducted to assess the feasibility of collecting EHIs and the challenges of developing an environmental health surveillance system (EHSS). Thematic analysis was employed to examine and evaluate the transcripts comprehensively. Based on the outcomes of the interviews, we were able to identify various indicators in Lebanon that were scrutinized with regards to availability, quality, and usefulness—as well as applicability to the context of Lebanon. Stakeholders reported that the most significant solutions consist of institutionalizing the system within the government, raising awareness of the private and public sector on EHSS, centralizing one entity responsible for leading implementation of the system, establishing a national council for environmental health surveillance, and developing a comprehensive database.

April 2017
April 2017
79.8 | E1-E7
May A. Massoud, Department of Environmental Health, American University of Beirut, Tala Moukaddem, Department of Environmental Health, American University of Beirut, Nasser Yassin, Department of Health Management and Policy, American University of Beirut

Abstract

Electronic waste (e-waste) generation is increasing worldwide, and its management becomes a significant challenge because of the many toxicants present in electronic devices. The U.S. is a major producer of e-waste, although its management practice and policy regulation are not sufficient to meet the challenge. We reviewed e-waste generation, current management practices and trends, policy challenges, potential health impact, and toxicant exposure prevention in the U.S. A large amount of toxic metals, flame retardants, and other persistent organic pollutants exist in e-waste or can be released from the disposal of e-waste (e.g., landfill, incineration, recycling). Landfill is still a major method used to dispose of obsolete electronic devices, and only about half of the states have initiated a landfill ban for e-waste. Recycling of e-waste is an increasing trend in the past few years. There is potential, however, for workers to be exposed to a mixture of toxicants in e-waste and these exposures should be curtailed. Perspectives and recommendations are provided regarding managing e-waste in the U.S. to protect public health, including enacting federal legislation, discontinuing landfill disposal, protecting workers in recycling facilities from toxicant exposure, reducing toxicant release into the environment, and raising awareness of this growing environmental health issue among the public.

October 2016
October 2016
79.3 | 8-16
Jessica Seeberger, MPH, Radhika Grandhi, MPH, Stephani S. Kim, MPH, William A. Mase, DrPH
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

A concerning emerging trend in people's choice for public health/community preparedness indicates all preparedness functions should be done by elected officials/corresponding departments, with little or no roles for members of affected communities. Those officials' abilities are limited so there is a clear need for action to re-educate communities on what individuals can do to lessen impacts of natural/other disasters themselves. The presenter proposes actions we can take now on a broad-based-scale to accelerate community and individual preparedness.

 

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

July 2015
Additional Topics A to Z: Emergency Preparedness

The EH workforce is experiencing a shortage in well-trained, entry level workers. Attracting and retaining undergraduates in EH can be achieved by internship experiences that are 1) a good match for both the interns and the provider, 2) responsibly training interns and providing a positive EH experience, and 3) appropriately recruiting and retaining interns from undergraduate programs.

 

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

July 2015
Additional Topics A to Z: Workforce Development

Abstract

Landscaping and groundskeeping workers are exposed to excessive amounts of loud noise from powered lawn equipment and tools that can lead to adverse health effects, including noise-induced hearing loss. The main objectives of this project were to evaluate attitudes and behavior of wearing hearing protection devices (HPDs) and to test the effectiveness of knowledge following an educational training among these workers. This was a cross-sectional intervention study. Bivariate analysis was conducted to evaluate worker perceptions about the importance and frequency of wearing HPDs. Pre- and post-tests were distributed to workers to evaluate significant differences in learned knowledge following a multifaceted noise and hearing loss training. Although nearly all workers recognized the importance of wearing either earplugs or earmuffs, actual use for wearing HPDs was approximately only half of the time when working around loud noise. Following the training intervention, there was a significant increase between mean pre- and post-test scores. Targeted trainings can be effective for increasing worker knowledge about the effects of noise, hearing loss, and hearing protection. Sustained efforts, however, must be made by employers to ensure that regular trainings are routinely provided and that the use of HPDs are promoted in the workplace.

October 2017
October 2017
80.3 | 8-15
Gregory D. Kearney, MPH, DrPH, REHS, Brody School of Medicine, Department of Public Health, East Carolina University, Jo Anne G. Balanay, MOH, PhD, CIH, Environmental Health Sciences Program, Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University, Adam J. Mannarino, MSEH, MPH, East Carolina University
Additional Topics A to Z: Injury Prevention

Article Abstract

The authors conducted a survey of small streams to evaluate the effects of centralized and onsite wastewater treatment on the occurrence of selected traditional and emerging contaminants in small streams in the upper Neuse River basin, North Carolina. An undeveloped site was included to assess effects of residential land use activities on stream quality. Concentrations of nutrients and ions were higher in samples from streams in residential sites than from the stream in an undeveloped area. Overall, streams draining residential areas showed relatively small differences with respect to type of wastewater treatment. Two sites, however—one in an area of centralized wastewater treatment apparently near a suspected sewer line leak, and the second in an area of onsite wastewater treatment—showed effects of wastewater. Organic wastewater compounds were detected more frequently in samples from these two sites than from the other sites. Optical brighteners levels were correlated (r2 = .88) with the number of organic wastewater and pharmaceutical compounds detected at the residential sites and could potentially serve as a screening method to assess wastewater effects on small streams.

 

Jan/Feb 2014
76.6 | 18-27
Sharon Fitzgerald, G.M. Ferrell, B.H. Grimes
Additional Topics A to Z: Wastewater

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