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.


Lung cancer is largely preventable by eliminating tobacco smoke and radon exposure. This exploratory study assessed the relationships of demographic factors, including having one or more smokers living in the household, and a) lung cancer worry and b) completion of home screening for radon and secondhand smoke (SHS) among renters. A convenience sample of renters (N = 47) received free test kits for radon and SHS as part of a larger study. Demographic factors, lung cancer worry, and completion of home testing were assessed at baseline. The sample was mostly Caucasian (68%), female (62%), and educated beyond high school (70%). The average age was 43 years (SD = 15), and roughly half lived with at least one smoker (49%). Gender, race/ethnicity, education, and whether they had smokers in the home accounted for 35% of the variability in lung cancer worry, F(4, 42) = 5.6, p = .001. Lung cancer worry was associated with lower level of education, b = 0.77; SE(b) = 0.32, and having at least one smoker living in the home, b = 0.71; SE(b) = 0.31. Renters tested their homes for radon and SHS whether they had smokers in the home or not. Constructing and delivering educational messages that target low-educated populations may promote radon testing and smoke-free homes.

January 2017
January/February 2017
79.6 | 8-13
Ellen J. Hahn, PhD, RN, FAAN, Marissa Hooper, RN, Carol Riker, MSN, RN, Karen M. Butler, DNP, RN


This study compared the effectiveness of using a commercially available robotic mop versus hand mopping as the second step of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s recommended three-step vacuum–mop–vacuum process to remove lead dust debris from residential floors. A total of 1,703 floors were cleaned using the robotic mop. Lead dust wipe tests from these floors were compared with 995 lead dust wipe tests for floors cleaned with hand mopping. Analysis of the dust wipes showed that cleaning floors with a robotic mop resulted in a clearance failure rate significantly lower than that obtained by cleaning floors by hand (4.8% versus 10.0%; p < .05). The use of newer technologies like robotic mops can help improve the efficiency and thoroughness of floor-cleaning efforts, as well as decrease costs associated with re-cleaning floors following regulated renovations.

September 2016
September 2016
79.2 | 8-12
Lisa Smestad, REHS, Alexander Vollmer, REHS, Jennifer Tschida, REHS, Angeline Carlson, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: Hazardous Materials

To address the need for more qualified Environmental Health Science professionals in the workforce, the presenters attempted to identify students who would be satisfied and successful with an undergraduate major in EHS. The current study attempted to do this by developing and validating an Environmental Health Science Career Interest Test. Come see how the results could assist in recruiting environmental public health majors and building a foundation for long, fruitful careers.

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

July 2015
Additional Topics A to Z: Workforce Development

Our increasingly globalized food supply means that contamination problems originating in remote regions of the world can rapidly impact communities in the United States of America. During this panel-type session, the presenters will review: the Federal effort to establish Rapid Response Teams; State efforts to implement the RRT concept; and state and local efforts to build capacity for response using innovative, less costly training approaches. Lessons learned during RRT implementation and the first year of a unique training pilot project in Michigan (funded by FDA grant under the Food Safety Modernization Act) will be presented, and the progress being made to better integrate local, state, and federal food emergency response capabilities. You will learn new approaches to coordinated response and leave this session with strategies you can implement at your agency for building capacity to respond to food emergencies even with shrinking budgets.

July 2015
John Tilden, MPH; Paul S. Makoski, RS, MPA; Matthew R. Ettinger, MS
Potential CE Credits: 2.00

The Healthy Homes & Communities track presenters will assemble as a panel in this session to tie all the learning of the day together. They will discuss how to integrate and apply Healthy Homes concepts such as: National Healthy Housing Strategy, Healthy Homes Rating System, models of Program Management, the Affordable Care Act, and finding novel partnerships and sources of funding. They will draw from their shared experiences and the audience's to answer your questions and help you develop strategies to apply and take actions to help you overcome the barriers you are facing.

July 2015
Clifford Mitchell, MS, MD, MPH
Potential CE Credits: 1.00

Chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic leads to an increased risk of cancer. A biological measurement was conducted in 153 private well owners and their families consuming water contaminated by inorganic arsenic at concentrations that straddle 10 μg/L. The relationship between the external dose indicators (concentration of inorganic arsenic in wells and daily well water inorganic arsenic intake) and the internal doses (urinary arsenic—sum of AsIII, DMA, and MMA, adjusted for creatinine—and total arsenic in toenails) was evaluated using multiple linear regressions, controlling for age, gender, dietary sources of arsenic, and number of cigarettes smoked. It showed that urinary arsenic was associated with concentration of inorganic arsenic in wells (p < .001) and daily well water inorganic arsenic intake (p < .001) in adults, and with daily well water inorganic arsenic intake (p = .017) and rice consumption (p = .022) in children (n = 43). The authors’ study reinforces the drinking-water quality guidelines for inorganic arsenic.

January 2016
January/February 2016
78.6 | 76-83
Fabien Gagnon, MSc, MD, FRCPC, Éric Lampron-Goulet, MSc, MD, FRCPC, Louise Normandin, PhD, Marie-France Langlois, MD, FRCPC
Additional Topics A to Z: Drinking Water


Private wells throughout central Florida have arsenic levels above the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 µg/L. We conducted a biomonitoring project of residents with wells above the MCL (higher risk) and below 8 µg/L (lower risk) to determine the relative importance of dietary and water sources of arsenic. Urinary arsenic did not differ by risk status, though higher-risk residents were more likely to use bottled or filtered well water as their primary source for drinking, cooking, and brushing teeth. Higher income, home ownership, and more servings of fish, seafood, white rice, and wine were associated with higher urinary arsenic levels. Similar relationships were seen when excluding individuals who consumed fish or seafood within 3 days of sampling. Provision of filters and bottled water to higher-risk households provided protection from arsenic exposure through well water. Diet and lifestyle factors, however, contributed to higher urinary arsenic levels among participants, regardless of household risk status.

October 2017
October 2017
80.3 | 22-32
Kristina W. Kintziger, PhD, Public Health Research Unit, Division of Community Health Promotion, Florida Department of Health, Melissa M. Jordan, MS, Public Health Research Unit, Division of Community Health Promotion, Florida Department of Health, Chris DuClos, MS, GISP, CPM, Public Health Research Unit, Division of Community Health Promotion, Florida Department of Health, Albert C. Gray, MPH, Environmental Health Section, Florida Department of Health in Hernando County
Additional Topics A to Z: Drinking Water

Fumigation techniques such as chlorine dioxide, vaporous hydrogen peroxide, and paraformaldehyde previously used to decontaminate items, rooms, and buildings following contamination with Bacillus anthracis spores are often incompatible with materials (e.g., porous surfaces, organics, and metals), causing damage or residue. Alternative fumigation with methyl bromide is subject to U.S. and international restrictions due to its ozone-depleting properties. Methyl iodide, however, does not pose a risk to the ozone layer and has previously been demonstrated as a fumigant for fungi, insects, and nematodes. Until now, methyl iodide has not been evaluated against Bacillus anthracis. Sterne strain Bacillus anthracis spores were subjected to methyl iodide fumigation at room temperature and at 55°C. Efficacy was measured on a log-scale with a 6-log reduction in CFUs being considered successful compared to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency biocide standard. Such efficacies were obtained after just one hour at 55°C and after 12 hours at room temperature. No detrimental effects were observed on glassware, PTFE O-rings, or stainless steel. This is the first reported efficacy of methyl iodide in the reduction of Bacillus anthracis spore contamination at ambient and elevated temperatures.

September 2105
78.2 | 14-19
Mark Sutton, PhD, Staci R. Kane, MS, PhD, Jessica R. Wollard
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks


Although microbial contamination of ice machines has been reported, no previous study has addressed microbial contamination of ice produced by machines equipped with activated charcoal (AC) filters in hospitals. The aim of this study was to provide clinical data for evaluating AC filters to prevent microbial contamination of ice. We compared microbial contamination in ice samples produced by machines with (n = 20) and without an AC filter (n = 40) in Shunan City Shinnanyo Municipal Hospital. All samples from the ice machine equipped with an AC filter contained 10–116 CFUs/g of glucose non-fermenting gram-negative bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Chryseobacterium meningosepticum. No microorganisms were detected in samples from ice machines without AC filters. After the AC filter was removed from the ice machine that tested positive for Gram-negative bacteria, the ice was re-sampled (n = 20). Analysis found no contaminants. Ice machines equipped with AC filters pose a serious risk factor for ice contamination. New filter-use guidelines and regulations on bacterial detection limits to prevent contamination of ice in healthcare facilities are necessary.

June 2016
June 2016
78.10 | 32-35
Katsuhiro Yorioka, PhD, Shigeharu Oie, PhD, Koji Hayashi, Hiroo Kimoto


Ice might contribute meaningfully to foodborne illness. Ice machines and ice scoops can be contaminated by microbial pathogens, resulting in people consuming contaminated ice. Typical of most states within the U.S., in Ohio assessments of ice machines and related equipment are part of mandated food service facility inspections by local health agencies. These visual inspections, however, might provide insufficient protection from microbial contamination. To explore the potential for disease transmission, we conducted microbiological surveys of ice throughout the Toledo–Lucas County Health Department service area in Ohio.

We regularly found microbial contaminants, mostly nonpathogenic bacteria and fungi, within ice machines. The relative abundance of bacteria and fungi was significantly greater on the gaskets of ice machines than on ice machine bin walls or ice scoops. Microbial contamination of ice machines did not vary significantly by facility hazard potential class or inspection results.  

The regular nature of microbial colonization of ice machines indicates that a meaningful potential exists for disease transmission. The nature of the colonization suggests that pathogenic contamination should not be present routinely, but rather occur sporadically. Management strategies could benefit from moving beyond visual inspection, to considering adoption of routine cleaning programs and implementing other barriers to microbial colonization.

November 2017
November 2017
80.4 | 22-28
Hailu Kassa, MSOH, MPH, PhD, Bowling Green State University, Brian Harrington, MPH, PhD, University of Toledo, Karim Baroudi, MPH, RS, REHS, Hancock Public Health, Gary S. Silverman, D Env, RS, University of North Carolina at Charlotte