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.


Bed bugs continue to affect society and place a burden on public health systems. Experiences of the Let’s Beat the Bug! campaign are presented to help information networks prepare personnel to effectively address questions about this pest. Following recommendations from the Minnesota state bed bug working group, an information line was established and the Web site ( was revised. Data from both services were analyzed by geographic region and type of information requested. InformationLine primarily assisted people who had issues dealing with failed treatments and landlord reluctance to take effective measures against this pest. Web site visits indicated a preference for learning do-it-yourself control methods. There were commonalities in the information sought from both services. People were often looking for reassurance, in addition to information about basic prevention and control of bed bugs. We present here priority topics that public health personnel should be prepared to answer if they receive inquiries about bed bugs. 

March 2017
March 2017
79.7 | 22-27
Amelia K. Shindelar, Stephen A. Kells, MS, PhD, BCE


Desalination provides a partial solution to water scarcity. While the desalination process provides much needed water to coastal areas, it also has various environmental impacts. Older operations entrain and impinge large and small organisms during the collection process, use significant amounts of energy, and produce substantial volumes of waste brine. These short- and long-term impacts warrant the involvement of environmental health practitioners.

Sustainable water supplies depend on more than just the weather. Accordingly, we start by analyzing the rising global demand for drinking water and the ongoing deterioration of the oceans. Next, we detail known impacts of desalination, and discuss alternatives for addressing water scarcity. We challenge environmental health practitioners to help meet current and future drinking water needs with respect to environmental sustainability. The ocean is finite. We should ask the right questions so as not to consume it at an untenable pace.

November 2016
November 2016
79.4 | 28-32
Brett Koontz, DPA, REHS, Thomas Hatfield, DrPH, REHS, DAAS


Improvements in life expectancy and changes in lifestyle have contributed to a “disease transition” from communicable to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Damage to public health infrastructure (PHI), such as sanitation and water, places people with NCDs at risk of disease exacerbation or even death. We propose the interdisciplinary characteristics of environmental health (EH) and the indirect, but vital, role in maximizing treatment and care for people with NCDs demonstrates the profession is an essential resource for addressing this problem. To explore this proposal, five focus groups were conducted with 55 EH professionals in Queensland, Australia. Relationships were identified between NCD exacerbation and PHI, such as power, sanitation, services, supplies, and water. Preparedness and response activities should focus on this priority PHI, which will require EH professionals to be part of interdisciplinary solutions. Recognizing this role will help protect the health of people with NCDs during and after a disaster.

December 2017
December 2017
80.5 | 38-48
Benjamin J. Ryan, MPH, James Cook University, Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Richard C. Franklin, MSocSc, PhD, James Cook University, World Safety Organization, Royal Life Saving Society, Frederick M. Burkle, Jr., MPH, MD, DTM, FAAP, FACEP, James Cook University, Harvard School of Public Health, Erin C Smith, MClinEpi, MPH, PhD, James Cook University, Edith Cowan University


Outbreaks of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are becoming increasingly frequent in the athletic community. Skin–fomite contact represents a putative mechanism for transmission of MRSA. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the prevalence and transmissibility of S. aureus in three surfaces commonly encountered in the gymnasium setting: the court floor, the sports ball, and the athlete’s hands. Three sports scenarios were simulated by dribbling a sports ball within a designated area; the surfaces were cultured before and after play using media selective for S. aureus. There was significant transfer of S. aureus from the native, contaminated surface towards two disinfected surfaces. In a fourth experiment, survival of S. aureus on sports balls was evaluated over time. S. aureus was found to be viable on the ball for at least 72 hr. This study demonstrates the significance of the sports ball as a vector for pathogen transmission. Interventions aimed at reducing athletic outbreaks should therefore include routine disinfection of sports balls during and after play.

January 2018
January/February 2018
80.6 | 8-13
Brandon A. Haghverdian, MD, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Nimesh Patel, Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in California, Lisa Wang, RN, CCRN, Stanford University Medical Center, Joshua A. Cotter, PhD, California State University, Long Beach
Additional Topics A to Z: Pathogens and Outbreaks

This step-by-step guide explains how to create a sustainability plan and sustainability report. Each chapter contains two vital sections. The first contains background reading, tips, and case examples to help you be successful. The second presents a set of methods each with step-by-step instructions and a selection matrix to help choose the best methods. The book also contains sample worksheets and exercise materials that can be copied for organization-wide use.

Additional Topics A to Z: Sustainability

NEHA attendees are invited to use their imaginative power to envision and design the next cartoon in the food defense series. Participants will engage in a collaborative brainstorming session to identify a scenario and develop the storyline as a professional cartoonist brings these visions to life in a multi-paneled storyboard. By the end of the session, participants, working alongside the cartoonist, will have collaboratively created a complete training cartoon, to be the fifth installment of the current food defense series.

Presented at NEHA 2015 AEC

July 2015

We've all read the peer-reviewed evidence and heard countless compelling success stories from healthy homes demonstration projects across the country. So why aren't these services available in more communities? Why can't doctors write prescriptions for healthy housing for patients with housing-related illnesses? Many states are exploring Medicaid reimbursement as a strategy for bringing healthy homes interventions to scale and integrating home-based interventions into a patient's usual care. Using asthma as a case study, this session will explore the opportunities and challenges associated with seeking Medicaid reimbursement for home-based interventions.

July 2015
Amanda Reddy, MS
Potential CE Credits: 1.00

Article Abstract

Septic systems are considered a source of groundwater contamination. In the study described in this article, the fate of microbes applied to a sandy loam soil from North Carolina coastal plain as impacted by water table depth was studied. Soil materials were packed to a depth of 65 cm in 17 columns (15-cm diameter), and a water table was established at 30, 45, and 60 cm depths using five replications. Each day, 200 mL of an artificial septic tank effluent inoculated with E. coli were applied to the top of each column, a 100-mL sample was collected at the water table level and analyzed for E. coli, and 100 mL was drained from the bottom to maintain the water table. Two columns were used as control and received 200 mL/day of sterilized effluent. Neither 30 nor 45 cm of unsaturated soil was adequate to attenuate bacterial contamination, while 60 cm of separation appeared to be sufficient. Little bacterial contamination moved with the water table when it was lowered from 30 to 60 cm. 

Aziz Amoozegar, PhD, Christopher Stall, MS, David Lindbo, PhD, Alexandria Graves, PhD
Additional Topics A to Z: Wastewater